The Next Ironman
by Kristin Hashimoto
Thirty four years running, the Ironman World Championship is still an inspiring display of athleticism, drive and iron resolve.
On Saturday October 13, world class athletes from all over the globe will converge on Kona for a mind-bending, soul-rending, body-beating challenge of the self versus self that’s 140.6 miles long.
With nearly 1,800 competitors, this life-altering endeavor ceases to be an all-or-nothing, win-or-lose scenario.
This grand race becomes a personal journey that begins and ends with one’s breath, body and internal strength.
While there are those that seriously compete to place, others engage in the race for the personal challenge of simply finishing.
This world renowned course consists of a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike race and a 26.2 mile run. Competitors have 17 hours to finish the race, with cutoff times for each segment of the race.
The course is a mind boggling, body punishing course through the sea and across the brutal sun drenched and lava landscape.
The swim course begins and ends at the Kailua Pier. The bike race takes place at the Kona Coast, then rides along the scenic Kohala coastline to Hawi and back again.
Finally, the run commences through Kailua-Kona, down Queen Ka’ahumanu Highway and winds through Ali’i Drive to the finish line. Spectators are not allowed at the finish due to congestion and safety for the athletes.
In sum there will be thousands of volunteers, spectators and of course, competitors in Kona come race day. Expect road closures, delays and a mind-numbing sea of people throughout the area.
The race begins at 6:30 a.m. for male professional or elite athletes, and 6:35 for female professional or elite athletes. The next group of competitors begin at 7 a.m.