During the awards ceremony for a Hawaii running race, a debate ensues among competitors about who is more fit — swimmers, runners or other athletes. One of the participants, Navy Commander John Collins and his wife Judy, dream up a race to settle the argument. They propose combining three existing races together, to be completed in succession: 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). "Whoever finishes first we’ll call the Ironman," said Collins. Fifteen men participate in the initial event held on February 18; 12 complete the race, led by the first Ironman, Gordon Haller. His winning time: 11 hours, 46 minutes and 58 seconds.
Word of mouth generates additional participant interest, and it appears that as many as 50 athletes will compete. But bad weather forces the postponement of the race for a day; when the starter’s pistol finally sounds on Sunday morning, just 15 competitors take the challenge. San Diego's Tom Warren, 35, wins in 11 hours, 15 minutes and 56 seconds. The first Ironwoman, Lyn Lemaire, a championship cyclist from Boston, places fifth overall. Even as Collins ponders changing the next race into a relay event to generate more participants, the race’s future is being re-written by Barry McDermott from Sports Illustrated. On the island to cover a golf tournament, McDermott discovers the race and writes a 10-page, larger-than-life account of the race that nets Collins hundreds of inquiries about the race.
Collins gives ABC's "Wide World of Sports" permission to film the event, but warns ABC executives that, "Watching the race is about as exciting as watching a lawn-growing contest." ABC’s coverage is somewhat more dramatic, and it brings Ironman worldwide recognition. The event draws 106 men and two women. Dave Scott, a 26-year-old masters swim coach from Davis, Calif., wins the event in 9:24:33. Robin Beck wins the women's division in 11:21:24, placing 12th overall. As people become familiar with the Ironman Triathlon, other triathlons of varying distances begin to take place around the world. Ironically, Collins is not on hand for the event, as the Navy transfers him to Washington, D.C. He entrusts the race to the owners of a local heath club.
Valerie Silk, one of the health club owners, takes over supervision of the race and makes the key decision to move the Ironman from the tranquil shores of Waikiki to the barren lava fields of Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii. She does this primarily to avoid Honolulu's traffic hazards, but it lends the event a man-versus-nature element that becomes a signature component. Silk also rescinds the requirement that each competitor provide his or her own support crew. On February 14, approximately 950 volunteers and throngs of cheering spectators turn out to support the 326 athletes in the race. John Howard, formerly an Olympic cyclist, wins the first Big Island race in 9:38:29. Linda Sweeney, one of 20 female competitors, wins the women's division in 12:00:32. Walt Stack, the oldest competitor (73), finishes last in 26:20:00, setting Ironman's slowest finish time record.
The event becomes such a phenomenon that Bud Light pays to become title sponsor. The race attracts 580 contestants. Scott Tinley, a 25-year-old swim coach from San Diego, passes Dave Scott in the marathon and finishes in a record time of 9:19:41. Less than two hours later, the most memorable moment in race history occurs. Julie Moss, a college student competing to gather research for her exercise physiology thesis, steadfastly moves toward the finish line in first place despite becoming severely fatigued and dehydrated. In the homestretch, she staggers like a punch-drunk boxer. Just yards away from the finish line, she falls to the ground. Passed by Kathleen McCartney for the women’s title, Moss nevertheless crawls to the finish line. Her courage and determination inspires millions and creates the Ironman mantra that just finishing is a victory.
The race owners move its date to October to give athletes from colder climates better training conditions. Evidencing that the race is maturing, cutoff times are introduced. Contestants must complete the 140.6-mile course within 18 1/2 hours. Race organizers begin coordinating the race with the full moon to assist runners after dark. Dave Scott sets a new record in the swim (50:52) and overall time, finishing in 9:08:23. Three Californians set new women's records: Jennifer Hinshaw, 21, of Saratoga, swim course record (53:26); Julie Leach, 25, of Newport Beach, bike course record (5:50:36); and Sally Edwards, 35, of Sacramento, marathon record (3:27:55). Leach, a former Olympic kayaker, leads the women in 10:54:08.
Contestants now are required to finish the race within 17 hours. For the first time, a qualification system goes into effect restricting entry. The first mainland U.S. Ironman Triathlon, the Ricoh Ironman U.S. Championship, is held in Los Angeles in May, with top finishers in the men's and women's divisions selected to compete in the October World Championship. Dave Scott wins his third Ironman in a record time of 9:05:57. Also for the first time, the top spot in the women's division is won by a non-American, Sylviane Puntous, of Canada. She sets a women’s course record of 10:43:36.
Valerie Silk assumes race chairmanship and appoints Kona resident Kay Rhead as race director. Despite the boycott of the 23rd Olympics by some East European countries, the Eastern Bloc sends its first participant to the Ironman: Vaclav Vitovec, a 31-year-old Czechoslovakian. Californian Jennifer Hinshaw, 23, sets a women's swim record of 50:31 that will remain unbroken until 1997. Dave Scott wins his fourth Ironman in 8:54:20, becoming the first person to break the nine-hour barrier. Sylviane Puntous wins the women's title again, also in a record time of 10:25:13.
Participants from 34 countries and 46 states compete. Scott Tinley wins and sets a course record of 8:50:54. Tinley confirms his status as the pre-eminent triathlon trendsetter, becoming the first athlete to use aerobars. His race wear includes a pair of slipcovers for his cycling shoes. Joanne Ernst, 26, of Palo Alto, California, wins the women's division in 10:25:22. Rather than race, Dave Scott serves as a commentator for ABC's Ironman coverage. Possibly the most notable Ironman highlight this year is the debut of international qualifying races. The Double Brown Ironman in Auckland, New Zealand, takes place on March 24, and the Yanmar Ironman Japan at Lake Biwa occurs on June 30.
An anonymous donor provides race organizers with $100,000 in prize money. The purse further cements Ironman’s status as the most important triathlon in the world and sends a message to the sporting world that triathlon has become serious business. The race draws athletes from 48 states and 36 countries. Dave Scott "unretires" and takes more than 20 minutes off of the existing course record with a time of 8:28:37. Scott’s victory includes a 2:49 marathon, the first time any Ironman athlete has run under 2:50. The women’s race is marred by controversy as Patricia Puntous of Canada crosses the finish line first but is disqualified for a bike drafting infraction. Relative newcomer Paula Newby-Fraser of Zimbabwe is next across the line and her time of 9:49:14 sets a new women’s course record. A new international qualifying race, Ironman Canada, takes place in Penticton, British Columbia in August.
A then-record 1,381 triathletes start Ironman; 1,283 finish within the 17-hour time limit. Contestants represent 49 states and 44 countries. The professional prize purse increases to $150,000. Dave Scott, who doesn’t announce his intention to race until the week of the event, upstages a strong men’s field that includes Mark Allen and Mike Pigg. Scott’s sixth Ironman championship comes in 8:34:13. New Zealand's Erin Baker shatters the previous course record for women with a time of 9:35:25. Ironman introduces its first and only team competition for members of U.S. Armed Forces. Navy takes first place. The Kellogg Company introduces Pro Grain Cereal, referred to as "Ironman Food."
Kay Rhead, race director, dies in January after a two-year struggle with cancer. Valerie Silk appoints Debbie Baker as the new race director. The 15 men who competed in the first Ironman in 1978 are invited to return for the 10th Anniversary celebration. Ironman welcomes its largest contingent of Eastern Europeans, including two competitors from Estonia, USSR. Dave Scott withdraws the night before the race with knee problems. Paula Newby-Fraser shatters her own bike course record by nearly 25 minutes, and becomes the first woman to break five hours on the bike. Her winning time of 9:01:01 obliterates the previous women’s course record and for the first time gives evidence that a woman may be able to break the 9-hour mark at the Ironman Triathlon distance. Scott Molina, "The Terminator," takes advantage of Scott’s absence and bike problems experienced by pre-race favorite Mark Allen to win the men’s title in 8:31:00. Ironman Europe in Roth, West Germany, is established as the fourth international qualifier for Hawaii.
Triathlon giants Dave Scott and Mark Allen race neck-and-neck for 8 hours. After six previous attempts at the No. 1 spot, Allen finally overcomes the dehydration, exhaustion and technical problems that had beset him in earlier Ironman Triathlons; he breaks away from Scott with just 2 miles to go, winning in a record-smashing 8:09:15. Scott finishes 58 seconds later in 8:10:13. Both men break Scott's previous course record. Allen also sets a record marathon split of 2:40:04. Paula Newby-Fraser leads the women's field, breaking her 1988 course record by 5 seconds, to finish in 9:00:56. Newby-Fraser also breaks her 1988 run course record by 2 minutes.
Silk sells Ironman to veteran Ironman triathlete Dr. Jim Gills of Florida. He forms the World Triathlon Corporation and starts the Ironman Foundation, a charitable organization designed to benefit the people of West Hawaii. The race course is altered to avoid airport traffic, adding a trip to the south end of Alii Drive ("The Pit"), and the Natural Energy Lab of Hawaii (NELH) Road. Mark Allen, racing in the absence of injured Dave Scott, overcomes heat and gusty headwinds to capture his second consecutive Ironman Triathlon World Championship, in a time of 8:28:17. New Zealand's Erin Baker captures her second Ironman title, placing 19th overall in 9:13:42.
Mark Allen survives challenges from Australia's Greg Welch and Pennsylvanian Jeff Devlin to capture his third consecutive Ironman title in 8:18:32. Paula Newby-Fraser, already the most prolific women's winner in Ironman history, wins her fourth title, finishing 26th overall in 9:07:52. Of the 1,379 starters, 1,312 finish, an Ironman record. Off the course, the year is marked by several major developments: Ironman Australia becomes the fifth international race; Gatorade becomes new title sponsor, signing a five-year contract; and NBC Sports televises the Ironman for the first time.
David Yates becomes the president of the World Triathlon Corporation, with Sharron Ackles assuming the role of Ironman Race Director. Three-time defending champion Mark Allen is one of four men, led by German Jurgen Zack, who break the existing bike record. The race then turns into a duel between Allen and Chile's Christian Bustos. Allen, 34, of Cardiff, Calif., breaks away near the run turnaround, and wins an unprecedented fourth consecutive title in a record time of 8:09:08. It was not the only record, though; Paula Newby-Fraser, 30, the Zimbabwean who resides in Encinitas, Calif., breaks her own course record by nearly 5 minutes, becoming the first woman ever to eclipse the 9-hour mark at the Ironman with an 8:55:28 performance.
Mark Allen and Paula Newby-Fraser stamp their seals of greatness on the Ironman by repeating as champions. Allen, the 35-year-old Cardiff, Calif., resident, fights off a valiant challenge from Pauli Kiuru of Finland to win his fifth consecutive title. Following some of the fastest bike times in the history of the race, including a new bike record from Jurgen Zack of Germany, Allen passes Kiuru at the midpoint of the marathon and then races home with a record time of 8 hours, 7 minutes and 45 seconds. Newby-Fraser, coming back from a serious foot injury that threatened her chances of competing in Kona, breaks her own bike course record and runs the second-fastest women's marathon time of the day. Newby-Fraser's time of 8:58:23 is just shy of the course record she set in 1992; no other woman has ever broken 9 hours at the Ironman championship. Winning for the third-consecutive year, she also ties Dave Scott for most Ironman victories with six.
Paula Newby-Fraser becomes the only athlete, male or female, to record seven Ironman victories as she wins her fourth consecutive title in 9:20:14. Dave Scott, returning at age 40 to Kona for the first time in five years, amazingly nearly joins Newby-Fraser as a seven-time champion before claiming the most celebrated second-place finish since Julie Moss' 1982 heroics. Scott's vanquisher, and first-time Ironman champion, is Greg Welch of Australia, who fulfills, in his seventh try, all of the promise first seen when he burst on the triathlon scene in 1988 with a finishing time of 8:20:27. Jim Ward, 77, becomes the oldest athlete ever to complete the Ironman, finishing in 16:48. Dr. Jon Franks becomes the first wheelchair competitor in the race’s history. Franks misses the bike cutoff time, but completes the entire 112-mile bike course using a hand-powered bike.
Returning to the Ironman Triathlon World Championship after a one-year hiatus, Mark Allen makes up a 13-minute deficit to Ironman rookie Thomas Hellriegel of Germany on the marathon course to claim his sixth Ironman title in seven years finishing in 8:20:34. In the women’s race, Karen Smyers passes a stumbling Paula Newby-Fraser with less than a quarter-mile left in the race to break Newby-Fraser's four-race winning streak. Newby-Fraser had opened up an 11-minute lead off the bike, but Smyers ran the second fastest marathon in the history (3:05:20) of the women's race to finish in 9:16:46. Conditions on the course are among the most difficult ever seen, with headwinds sometimes reaching 45 miles per hour. Darryl Haley, formerly an NFL offensive lineman, becomes the largest athlete at 6’5", 300 lbs., to ever complete the race.
Luc Van Lierde, 27, of Belgium, in his initial Ironman, becomes the first European athlete to win the event, breaking the course record by more than three minutes with a time of 8:04:08. Germany's Thomas Hellriegel sets a new bike course record of 4:24:50 and places second overall in 8:06:07, a time that also betters the previous course record. In the women's race, Ironman Hall of Fame inductee Paula Newby-Fraser wins her eighth Hawaii Ironman title in 9:06:49. In the closest women's race since the early 1980s, Newby-Fraser has to run down Iron-rookie Natascha Badmann of Switzerland during the latter part of the marathon. Badmann places second in 9:11:19. Another significant Ironman milestone takes place at Ironman Europe during the summer as Lothar Leder of Germany becomes the first athlete ever to break the 8-hour barrier in a time of 7:57:02.
Thomas Hellriegel leads a trifecta of Germans first across the finish line in race conditions that longtime Ironman competitor Scott Tinley calls the toughest ever. Strong and steady headwinds averaging 30 mph slow the bike and cloudless skies with temperatures in the low 90s combine to produce the slowest finish times in a decade. The conditions set the stage for the biggest surprise victory in the history of the women’s race as Heather Fuhr of Canada, renowned for her ability to handle the heat, runs nearly 15 minutes faster than any of the top five women to claim her first Ironman title in 9:31:43. Three other notable Ironman happenings that occur include John MacLean of Australia celebrating the debut of the championship’s physically challenged division by becoming the first athlete to power a hand-crank bike and wheelchair to an official finish; Jim Ward’s competing as the first 80-year-old in race history; and Belgian Luc Van Lierde leading four men under 8 hours at Ironman Europe with a new world record time of 7:50:27.
The Ironman Triathlon World Championship celebrates its 20th Anniversary. Race founder John Collins, comes across the finish line in 16 hours, 30 minutes and 2 seconds after a 19-year hiatus from Ironman racing. Seven of the original 15 Ironman competitors are on hand to watch the race, while six of them compete. Among them is the race’s original winner Gordon Haller who finishes in 14:27:01. Also on hand are 17 of Ironman’s 21 past champions including: Scott Molina, Scott Tinley, Thomas Hellriegel, Heather Fuhr, Paula Newby-Fraser, Tom Warren and course record holder, Luc Van Lierde. Canada’s Peter Reid, 29, claims his first Ironman Triathlon World Championship title in some of the worst wind conditions ever recorded at Ironman by finishing in 8:24:20. Switzerland’s Natascha Badmann, 31, takes the lead early in the bike and stays in front all day until breaking the tape in 9:24:16. Defending Ironman champ Heather Fuhr breaks the existing women’s marathon course record set in 1990 by running a 3:04:02. Wendy Ingraham breaks her own swim record set in 1997 with a time of 49:11. In other news, Ironman Austria and Ironman USA Lake Placid join the family of Ironman events, and David Yates steps down as president and is succeeded by Lew Friedland.
In one of the most hotly contested races ever, Canadian Lori Bowden and Belgian Luc Van Lierde capture the championship crowns, finishing in 9:13:02 and 8:17:17 respectively. For Bowden, 32, this is her first championship title. She had finished second in Hawaii two years in a row before landing the top spot. Bowden’s blistering 2:59 marathon breaks the course record set by Heather Fuhr in 1998 by five minutes. This was 30-year-old Van Lierde’s second championship title. Van Lierde won the race as a rookie in 1996 and set the current course record of 8:04:08. Jodi Jackson, 22, from Honolulu, Hawaii, sets a new swim course record of 48:43. American Tim DeBoom, 28, from Boulder, CO, leads the race for three hours before eventually finishing third in 8:25:42. DeBoom’s finish is the highest placing for an American male in Hawaii since 1995. Lyn Brooks, 51, from Baltimore, MD, becomes the first person to ever finish 20 consecutive Ironman Triathlon World Championship races, with a time of 14:44:20. Ironman Hall of Famer, Scott Tinley, 42, from Del Mar, CA, competes in his 20th and final Ironman race, finishing in 10:37:00. A two-time Ironman champion, Tinley announces his retirement following the race. On the Ironman scene, Peter Reid and Lori Bowden become the first husband and wife to win the same event in the same year, when they dominate the Ironman Australia Triathlon. Several inaugural Ironman races are run including the Isuzu Ironman Lake Placid and Florida Triathlons. Ironman Austria joins the international roster of Ironman events.
Some days are tougher than others on the Ironman course in Kona, and this year whipping winds made this year's bike leg one of the toughest ever. Everyone had tales of two-fisted, white-knuckle cycling, and a few unfortunate competitors were knocked off their bike and out of the race by the "mumukus". Peter Reid of Canada (8:21:01) and Natascha Badmann of Switzerland (9:26:17) survived the battle best, in performances reminiscent of their 1998 efforts here, where they both captured their first Ironman title. Reid and the rest of the Ironman world was surprised two days before the race when defending champion Luc Van Lierde withdrew and went home to Belgium, citing a lack of mental preparedness to give his best effort. American Tim DeBoom proved last year's third place finish was no fluke, this time taking second, just over 2 minutes behind Reid. This marked the first time in 20 years the Ironman event had been staged without Ironman Hall of Famer Scott Tinley, and Baltimore's Lyn Brooks. On the women's side of the race, Badmann turned in the fastest bike split of the day (5:06:43), staking her to a 17 minute advantage over defending champion and pre-race favorite Lori Bowden. She needed most of that cushion, as Bowden delivered the fastest marathon of the day (3:04:20), ultimately closing the gap to less than 3 minutes. Former motocross champion David Bailey pulled out a victory over rival Carlos Moleda in the wheelchair division in this third and final Ironman. WTC website Ironmanlive.com delivered flawless coverage of the event worldwide over the Internet for the first time, recording on video the moment of triumph for all 1427 finishers as they crossed the Alii Drive finish line.
Just three weeks after September 11, amidst crowd chants of "USA, USA," American Tim DeBoom, 30, of Lyons, Colorado, brings the Ironman crown back to the United States for the first time since 1995. Switzerland's Natascha Badmann, 34, successfully defends her title, earning her a third championship crown. Seventy-one-year-old Bob Scott from Naperville, Illinois, breaks his own record in the men's 70-74 age group. Scott's 12:59:02 is nearly 15 minutes faster than his time in 2000. Laura Sophiea, 46, from Pleasant Ridge, MI, upsets 12-time age group champion Missy LeStrange, 49, by winning the women's 45-49 age group. Perennial Ironman favorite, Wendy Ingraham retires from Hawaii competition. Six-time Ironman champion Dave Scott returns once again to Ironman, but pulls out during the cycling portion of the event. In other Ironman news, the inaugural Half Ironman U.K. Triathlon takes place in Llanberis, North Wales, with 1,400 athletes competing. Ironman Japan, now based on Fukue Island just south of Nagasaki, returns to the lineup of international events.
Both the USA’s Tim DeBoom, 31, from Lyons, CO, and Switzerland’s Natascha Badmann, 35, successfully defend their Ironman titles winning in 8:29:56 and 9:07:54 respectively. With his win, DeBoom becomes the first man to capture successive Ironman titles since 1993. This year’s win marks Badmann’s third consecutive championship crown, taking her total world championship wins to four. Norton Davey, 84, from Oceanside, CA, becomes Ironman’s oldest starter ever. The prize purse is increased from $325,000 to $429,000 with the male and female champion each taking home $100,000. Marcos Alegre and Donna Smyers set new records in the 65-69 and 45-49 age groups. Ironman Wisconsin joins the Ironman family of events, with the inaugural event taking place in Madison on September 15.
Ironman’s 25th Anniversary race is a clean sweep for Canada as Peter Reid and Lori Bowden both reclaim the title of World Champion. Reid uses his superior running ability to come from behind for the win. Belgian sensation, Rutger Beke, storms onto the Ironman scene with a second place finish at his first Ironman Triathlon World Championship. In the women’s race, Bowden also uses a blistering marathon time to chase down defending champion Natascha Badmann and Germany’s Nina Kraft to seize the title. Jeff Cuddeback breaks the 45-49 age group record and now owns the fastest time in three separate age groups. Missy LeStrange adds her name to the record books for a second time with a dominating performance in the 50-54 age group. For the first time in Ironman history, 20 slots are auctioned off on E-bay to raise more than $400,000 for the Kona YMCA. Ironman racing continues to expand with the addition of Ironman Coeur d’Alene in Idaho on June 29.
Germany’s Normann Stadler and Switzerland’s Natascha Badmann were victorious this year. The win was a first for Stadler, known as the “Norminator,” and the fifth for Badmann, nicknamed the “Swiss Miss.” Stadler becomes the second German to win the Ironman Triathlon World Championship with a time of 8:33:29 and the win for Badmann at 9:50:04, moves her to within three victories of Paula Newby-Fraser’s record eight wins in Kona. The men’s field featured several top names, including Peter Reid, Cameron Brown and Tim DeBoom. Stadler, known for his cycling prowess, had an 8-minute lead at the 100-mile marker of the bike leg. 2003 champion, Peter Reid, placed second with a time of 8:43:40. Relative newcomer Faris Al-Sultan had a time of 8:45:24 and Alex Taubert had a time of 8:48:35. The German duo placed third and fourth respectively. Rounding out the men’s top five was Rutger Beke, with a time of 8:54:23. Badmann, consistent as usual, ran her own race and showed how a little patience and experience can pay off. Another women’s field veteran, Heather Fuhr, pounded out a second place finish at 9:56:19. In third place was Australia’s Kate Major with a time of 10:01:56. Canadian Lisa Bentley took fourth place at 10:04:00 and New Zealand’s Joanna Lawn rounded out the women’s top five with a time of 10:05:10. The Ironman Triathlon World Championship, in its 28th year, had 1,734 athletes at the starting line. Throughout 2004, more than 50,000 competitors strived to qualify for one of 1,800 spots at the event. More than 4,300 entered the lottery program, where 150 slots were given to U.S. athletes and 50 slots were distributed to international athletes.
Germany’s Faris Al-Sultan and Switzerland’s Natascha Badmann claim victories this year. Al-Sultan earns his first World Championship title, while Badmann earns her sixth. This is a significant win for Al-Sultan, as it is his second Ironman title and makes him the third German to win the Ford Ironman World Championship. This win pushes Badmann to a near record and places her only two victories away from Ironman legend Paula Newby-Fraser’s record eight wins in Kona. Both the men’s and women’s field boast talented Ironman athletes including Peter Reid, Cameron Brown, Rutger Beke, Cameron Widoff, Kate Major, Joanna Lawn and newer Ironman talent such as Kate Allen and Michellie Jones. This proves to be a great year for athletes, as many of the professional athletes achieve their fastest bike, run and overall times. Like the professional field, age groupers also see many personal bests, as sixteen Ford Ironman World Championship age group course records are broken. In addition to the talented professional field, there are many unique and inspirational age group athletes making a mark on this year’s event. Robert McKeague becomes the oldest athlete to cross an Ironman finish line. At 80-years-old, McKeague from Villa Park, IL, finishes with a time of 16:21:55. Sarah Reinertsen, from Portola Hill, CA, who attempted to become the first female amputee to finish in 2004, accomplishes her goal and makes Ironman history. Reinertsen missed the bike cut-off in 2004, but finishes this year with a time of 15:05:12. More than 50,000 athletes from around the world competed to be a part of this year’s World Championship.
Just one year after recording a DNF, Germany’s Norman Stadler returned to Kailua-Kona and captured his second Ford Ironman World Championship title in three years with a time of 8:11:56. Stadler built an insurmountable lead on the bike, setting the fastest bike split in Ironman history with a time of 4 hours and 18 minutes. Stadler held off a fast-charging Chris McCormick, edging the Australian by 1:11, the closest finish since Mark Allen nipped Dave Scott by 58 seconds in 1989. The 2005 Champion Faris Al-Sultan of Germany placed third, crossing the finish line in 8:19:04. After a spectacular 2005 debut and a second place finish, Australia’s Michellie Jones claimed her first Ford Ironman World Championship title, crossing the finish line in 9:18:31. A stellar bike time of 5:06:09 helped the 37 year-old distance herself from the pack. Austin Texas native Desiree Ficker turned in a career-best second, finishing in 9:24:02. After having her appendix rupture during the 2005 race, Canadian Lisa Bentley returned to Kailua-Kona and tallied a career-best third place finish with a time of 9:25:18. In an attempt to win a seventh career World Championship title, Switzerland’s Natascha Badmann finished in 9:38:52, tenth overall.
After several attempts for the illustrious title and a second place finish in 2006 to two-time champion, Normann Stadler, Chris McCormack finally claimed victory with an overall time of 8:15:34. McCormack, often referred to as “Macca,” took the lead at mile 13 of the run, passing last year’s top American finisher, Chris Lieto. Leading an impressive and highly competitive field consisting of some of the sport’s top contenders such as Craig Alexander, Tim DeBoom and Torbjorn Sindballe, Macca became the first Australian male athlete to win a title in Kona since 1994. Fresh off her Ironman victory in Korea, Chrissie Wellington became the first-ever British athlete to win an Ironman World Championship, crossing the finish line at 9:08:45. Wellington dominated during the bike and run, despite the heat, leading a field that consisted of Samantha McGlone, Leanda Cave, Kate Major and Joanna Lawn. A number of Ironman ‘greats’ were forced to withdraw from the event due to illness, such as Faris Al-Sultan, Michellie Jones, Natascha Badmann and Normann Stadler. More than 1,780 competitors crossed the finish line with athletes ranging in age from 18 to 78 years old. Inspirational age group athletes such as Brian Boyle, survivor of a nearly fatal car accident, crossed the finish line at 14 hours, 42 minutes along with Charlie Plaskon, a 64-year-old visually impaired athlete who competed with his guide from C Different, celebrated with a time of 14 hours, 49 minutes. Scott Rigsby, a double below-the-knee amputee from Atlanta, Ga. also saw Ironman success with a finish time of 16 hours, 42 minutes.