St. George Ironman Qualifer- May 1st. Athletes swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles, and then run 26.2 miles. The iron man competition is a worldwide event that challenges competitors to complete three athletic events. The event, which consists of swimming, biking, and running, is held each year in Kailua Kona, Hawaii. Competitors in the iron man competition must first complete a 2.4 mile (3.86 kilometer) swim across the Kailua Kona Bay. Then, they must bike 112 miles (180.2 kilometers) from Keauhou to Hawi and back again. Finally, the competitor must run 26.2 miles (42.2 kilometers) along the coast from Keauhou to Keahole Point and then to Kailua Kona
In order to compete in the iron man competition, the athlete must win one of the slots that are available in a number of domestic or international locations. Some locations that host the qualifying events include Japan, South Africa, the Canary Islands, Europe, and the United States(St. George, Utah). Each location has a different number of available slots, and the way they are won is different from one location to the next. Some slots are also made available through a lottery drawing.
The iron man competition was first run in 1978 and has been going ever since. It was born from a debate among athletes as to which were the most fit – swimmers, bicyclists, or runners. Although the iron man competition has been running every year, it was moved to October of every year rather than February, which is when it originally took place. The transition period was in 1982, and as a result, there were two iron man competitions that year.
From its humble beginnings, the iron man competition has grown dramatically. In fact, the first competition was host to only eleven competitors. The following year, approximately 50 competitors showed up for the chance to win the prestigious iron man title. Only fifteen of these athletes actually competed, however, as the competition was postponed due to inclement weather. Today, the iron man competition sees over 1,500 competitors annually.
The number of iron man competitors would be even greater if they did not have to first pass through the rigorous qualifying event. In fact, more than 3,000 hopefuls enter the iron man lottery every year in hopes of finding a slot. However, only 150 iron man spots are awarded through the lottery to United States citizens, and 50 are awarded internationally.