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101 Things To Know Before The 2013 Ironman World Championship

  • By Aaron Hersh
  • Published Oct 12, 2013
  • Updated Jul 2, 2014 at 4:03 PM UTC
Chrissie Wellington dominated Ironman during her career. Photo: Nils Nilsen


51. Michael Collins was 16 when he raced in 1979. He was the first person to finish in daylight, but did it the day after the start with a finish time longer than 24 hours. 18 is currently the minimum age for competitors.

52. The Ironman World Championship moved from Oahu to the Big Island in 1981.

53. The race grew from 326 competitors in 1981 to 850 in 1982.

54. Iron War, the 1989 battle between Mark Allen and Dave Scott that has become the most celebrated head-to-head race in Ironman history, was settled when Allen dropped Scott on a small rise at mile 23.5 after the pair raced side by side for 138 miles. That small rise is now known as Mark and Dave Hill.

55. ABC’s “Wild World of Sports” captured Julie Moss’ 1982 collapse just meters from the finish. That spot is behind the current finish line because the event used to finish on the Kona Pier, where transition is currently located. Footage of her struggling to finish helped propel the growth of the sport.

56. Every touted contender in the women’s race has a major strike against her résumé, leaving the field wide open for a surprise upset. Caroline Steffen has never won in Hawaii; Mirinda Carfrae has struggled for over a year; Leanda Cave is yet to win a race in 2013; Mary Beth Ellis has a broken collarbone; Rachel Joyce has never finished higher than fourth.

57. German athlete Sonja Tajsich finished 14th in 2010, 7th in 2011 and 4th in 2012 with the day’s fastest run split.

58. Tajsich lost more than 14 minutes to Leanda Cave during the swim in 2012, but only finished seven minutes behind. She had the fastest marathon split in the women’s race by nearly four minutes.

59. Tajsich has been nursing plantar fasciitis since the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in September.

60. Since Normann Stadler did it in 2006, no male has won the race after coming off the bike with a lead over the rest of the field.

61. Chrissie Wellington accomplished the same feat in 2009. And 2008. And 2007.

62. Thirty-seven women and 54 men are on the professional start list. The top 50 pro men and top 35 pro women are awarded a Kona slot based on points accumulated at races starting from Sept. 2, 2012.

63. The extra starters earned their slot by winning a world title—athletes with that designation only have to “validate” by finishing an Ironman between last year’s championship race and this year’s.

64. 2,167 people are registered for the 2013 race.

65. Average finish time in the last four years, according to Runtri.com: 11:32 (2012), 11:25 (2011), 11:14 (2010), 11:37 (2009)

66. Pro athletes make up only 4 percent of the field.

67. More than 5,000 volunteers help support the racers. The med tent next to the finish line is staffed with more than 300 of them.

68. The average age of the registered male athletes is 42, and the average for females is 40.

69. Many of the top athletes use power meters to gauge their effort during the race. Defending champ Pete Jacobs, Jordan Rapp, Luke McKenzie and others will have their real-time power data displayed on Trainingpeaks.com while the race is happening.

70. Training Peaks reports that Faris Al-Sultan’s 2012 peak 30-minute power output of 308 watts is enough to power a flat-screen TV.

71. Riding with a power meter allows athletes to accurately gauge their caloric expenditure on the bike. Training Peaks software calculates that most of the top men consume 4,500–5,000 calories on the bike alone and the women typical use about 3,000–3,500.

72. 2012 Kona champion Pete Jacobs’ power data shows he rarely went “into the red” during the bike. His power file on Triainingpeaks.com shows several spikes above his threshold power (what he could hold for one hour), but they are for such short durations (15 to 30 seconds) that they don’t count as “matches,” a term that power analysts use to describe hard, sustained efforts that will tire a rider over time. Sustaining a fairly consistent effort level on the bike helped him run his way to the title.

73. Participants typically lose 3-5% of their body weight during Ironman Hawaii.

74. Rachel Joyce is a lawyer. She practiced in the UK as a solicitor before leaving the profession to become a full-time pro triathlete.

RELATED PHOTOS: Kona Training Days

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Aaron Hersh

Aaron Hersh

Aaron Hersh is the Senior Tech Editor of Triathlete magazine. To submit a question, write Aaron at Ahersh@competitorgroup.com.

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