Business

Rudy Project Ramps Up for IRONMAN

October 5, 2014, 6:47 PM HST
* Updated October 5, 6:48 PM
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The world’s toughest one-day sporting event will take place on the Big Island this Saturday and Rudy Project, designated manufacturer of the official helmet of IRONMAN for North America, is ready for it.

“If you are an endurance athlete, this is where you want to race,” said Devin Johnson, spokesman for Rudy Project.  “For the last decade, triathlons have been the major part of our business, they take place all over the world, but the 2014 GoPro IRONMAN World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawai’i, is the biggest.”

Over 2000 athletes ranging in age from 18 to 84 are expected to complete in this year’s IRONMAN.  Representing 68 countries on six continents, they’ll compete in a grueling race that starts at 7 a.m. with a 2.4-mile swim and transitions to a 112-mile bike race followed by a full 26.2-mile marathon.

“Top pros will finish in about 8.5 hours,” Johnson said. “The cut-off time is midnight, anyone coming in after that will be disqualified.”

Last year’s winner’s time was 8 hourss, 12 minutes, and 29 seconds.

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Among Hawai’i’s 61 registered competitors will be FBI agent Edward Ignacio, who will race carrying 40 lbs. of tactical gear to raise awareness and funds for the Hawai’i Law Enforcement Memorial Foundation, according to Johnson.

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The Foundation’s goal is to build and maintain a monument honoring law enforcement officers from city, county, state, military, and federal agencies who have died in the line of duty while serving the people of Hawai’i.

“Hawai’i is the only state without a memorial to fallen law enforcement officers and Edward is trying to raise money to build one,” Johnson said. “He thinks he can complete the race in 13-15 hours.”

Rudy Project't storefront on Alii Drive, next to Scandinavian Shave Ice. Photo courtesy: Rudy Project.

Rudy Project’t storefront on Alii Drive, next to Scandinavian Shave Ice. Photo courtesy: Rudy Project.

Rudy Project sponsors over 100,000 athletes worldwide and has a dominant force of sponsored athletes, professional and age-group, competing in this year’s IRONMAN, according to Johnson.

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“Our sunglasses and helmets will be worn by about 30 percent of this year’s pro field,” he said.

The pro field is made up of the world’s top triathletes.  This year’s IRONMAN has a pro field of 55 males and 37 females representing that rare breed of elite athletes who compete around the globe in the almost superhuman world of triathlons.

“Our technologically advanced cycling helmets, performance and casual eyewear, Rx/prescription sunglass solutions, and world class triathlon bags are the go-to equipment for thousands of athletes,” Johnson said.

Rudy Project and USA Triathlon will be hosting an invitation-only party at Hulihe’e Palace in Kona on Tuesday night for their sponsored athletes.

“And we’re hoping the mayor (Big Island Mayor William “Billy” Kenoi) will be able to attend too,” Johnson said.

According to race officials, Mayor Kenoi has registered to compete in the race but, at the time of this writing, it was unclear whether or not he will be able to, given his duties concerning the ongoing lava flow from Kilauea volcano, which has posed an ongoing threat to the Puna district since last June.

The first IRONMAN World Championship race was held on February 18, 1978 on the island of O’ahu. It was the brainchild of a Honolulu-based Navy couple, John and Judy Collins, who a year earlier, came up with the idea of an endurance race that included swimming, biking and running.  The first IRONMAN had 15 contestants.

In 1981 the race moved to Kona.

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