With its history stretching back almost as far as triathlon itself, Ironman Hawaii has become an institution among athletes. Now in its third decade, we count down 30 highlights from the race to end all races ahead of Saturday’s showdown…
24. Never underestimate Macca
Chris McCormack was past it, some observers speculated before the 2010 edition of the race; this was Andreas Raelert’s year. But, as is thrillingly told in the ‘My Masterpiece’ chapter of his book I’m Here to Win, this repeat of the 1989 Iron War saw Macca and Raelert level-pegging with a mile to go… before Raelert makes an unexpected aid station water grab and Macca breaks to win his second Ironman Hawaii title. A lesson that the Aussie’s 2012 rivals should heed over the next four days…
23. Scott Tinley first uses aerobars
Legendary two-time Ironman champion Scott Tinley bolted aerobars to his bike and wore covers on his cycle shoes for the first time, winning the event in sub-nine hours. Prior to this, competitors had used standard ‘drop’ handlebars.
22. Amputee Jim MacLaren finishes the Ironman
In 1985, the former Yale footballer Jim MacLaren lost his leg. Not deterred, he then set about training for Hawaii, completing the event in 1989. Sadly, four years later he was hit by a van at the Orange County Performing Arts Centre Triathlon and became a quadriplegic. He returned to the stage of the Ironman to emotional scenes, and now lives by the saying: “Behind every tragedy there’s something to learn.”
21. Valerie Silk sells Ironman
In 1990, Ironman owner Valerie Silk sold the event for $3million to Dr Jim Gill, a Florida ophthalmologist and Ironman competitor. Gill subsequently founded the World Triathlon Corporation (WTC). The Pit and the Natural Energy Lab sections were added to the course the same year.
20. NBC takes over the Ironman coverage
In 1991, American broadcaster NBC televised the Ironman for the first time. In the same year, Gatorade signed on as the title sponsor. The two become synonymous with the race in years to come.