2018 sees Ironman New Zealand hit number 34. There will be just under 300 first timers racing and the Pro list indicates the best chance of a male Kiwi winning ever.
Seeded as Currie, Brown, Bozzone, Cochrane, Phillips, Allan, Crawford, McNeice, Millward.
So why do people do this race? Why would someone front up, toe the line and know that it may well take 17 hours to get through the 3.8km swim, 180km bike and 42.2km run.
During an awards banquet for the Waikiki Swim Club, John Collins, and his fellow athletes began debating which athletes were the fittest: swimmers, bikers, or runners. Later, he and his wife Judy, decided to combine three of the toughest existing endurance races on the island. On February 18, 1978, 15 competitors, including Collins, came to the shores of Waikiki to take on the first-ever "Hawaiian Iron Man Triathlon."
"Swim 2.4 miles! Bike 112 miles! Run 26.2 miles! Brag for the rest of your life", now a registered trademark.
1985 was the first ever Ironman outside of the USA and held in Auckland and won by Scott Molina. The top female for the next two years was Erin Baker, and again in 1990 and 1994.
In 1999 the event moved to Taupo, where it is seen as an iconic race, known and loved by thousands.
So why do it??? If you ask the first timers racing on Saturday you will get almost 300 different answers. Ask the people coming back for the 2nd or 20th time, you will get different answers. There are common themes though – the challenge, I need a goal, I wanted to get fit, I want to prove something [to myself], I want to live a healthy life, I couldn’t and now I can.
The commitment and dedication to get to the start line is high; to get to the finish line under 17 hours is daunting. The physical, mental and spiritual demands can be stressful and yet so rewarding. Family responsibilities/obligations can be stretched, sometimes frayed, sometimes ruined.
It’s Ironman, not Easyman and that’s why so many people do this crazy stuff.
And to be called over the finish line with…’you are an Ironman’ is contagious!