Rob Gray Wins Ultraman World Championship

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The 33rd anniversary of the Ultraman World Championships finished on Sunday, Nov. 26, 2017, in Kailua-Kona.

Rob Gray. PC Ultraman

Rob Gray, 41, from Boulder, Colorado, was the first to complete the long distance endurance race at a total combined time of 22:19:48. This was the third Ultraman that Gray has completed in and he was also the winner of the 2016 Florida Ultraman.

The Ultraman is a three-day, 320-mile (515km) individual ultra-endurance event which takes place here on the Big Island.

Founded in 1983, the event is held annually on the traditional Thanksgiving weekend.

Entries are limited to 40 participants and is by invitation only.


This year’s race started on Friday, Nov. 24, at 6:30 a.m. with a 6.2 mile (10 km) ocean swim from Kailua Bay to Keauhou Bay, followed by a 90 mile (145 km) cross-country bike ride from Keauhou Bay around the southern tip of the island via Route 11 to finish at Kīlauea Military Camp in the Hawaiian Volcanoes National Park.

This one-day vertical climb totals 8,000 feet.

The second stage of the race began on Saturday, Nov. 25, at 6:30 a.m. and it was a 171.4 mile (276 km) bike ride, from Volcanoes National Park (Route 11) to Kea‘au, then turning east with a counter-clockwise loop through Kalapana, Kapoho and Pāhoa, then on through the City of Hilo.


From Hilo, the route continues north along the Hāmākua Coast (Route 19) to Waimea, and over the Kohala Mountains via Route 250 to finish at Kamehameha Park in Kapa‘au, just north of Hawi town.

This vertical climbs total 8,600 feet.

The third and final stage of the race began on Sunday, Nov. 26, at 6 a.m. and it was a 52.4 mile (84 km) double-marathon run from Hawi to Kawaihae (Route 270), then on to Kailua-Kona via Route 19 finishing at the Old Airport Park.


Each stage had to be completed in 12 hours or less. The participants that did not reach the respective finish lines within the 12 hour limits were disqualified. However, that did not preclude one from starting the next day’s stage as long as he/she was medically able to do so, as determined by staff medical personnel. Those athletes were considered an “Unofficial Participant” and not eligible for post-race awards.

Participants from all over the world competed. Most of athletes have participated in at least one previous ULTRAMAN. Each of the athletes were accompanied by an individual support team of at least two persons over the entire course. Many of these team members were volunteers from the Big Island.

Day 3 and Final Results:


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