An argument regarding who was the most fit athlete - swimmers, runners, or bike riders - led to the first Ironman race. Navy Commander John Collins and his wife, Judy, suggested solving the "debate" by combining three races into one. The races chosen to combine were the Waikiki Roughwater Swim (2.4 miles), the Around-Oahu Bike Race (112 miles (originally a two-day event)), and the Honolulu Marathon (26.2 miles). The winner of the combined race would be called the "Ironman." Fifteen men participated in the first Ironman event on February 18, 1978. Twelve men completed the race, with the first Ironman, Gordon Haller, crossing the finish line at 11:46:48.
The first Ironwoman, Lyn Lemaire, competed in the second Ironman race in 1979. She placed fifth overall with the winner, Tom Warren (age 35), crossing the finish line at 11:15:56. During the Ironman, journalist Barry McDermott was on the island to cover a golf tournament. McDermott wrote a 10-page article about the Ironman for Sports Illustrated causing interest to grow in the race.
In 1980 ABC’s Wide World of Sports filmed the Ironman, bringing world recognition to the race. Dave Scott, 26, finished the race in 9:24:33, with Robin Beck wining the women’s division in 11:21:24 (12th overall).
- <ilink>http://www.ironman.com IronMan.com</ilink> - the offical website of the Ironman Triathlon
- ↑ The complete history of the World’s most famous Triathlon. Ironman.com (2007). Retrieved on 2008-04-03.