Ford Ironman World Championship Returns to Kona
In the world of Triathlons Kona is the ultimate, and remains one of the defining races of the sport. From the throngs of people that attempt to get a spot in the race (we’re talking tens of thousands) a mere 1,800 get entered in the world championships in Kona. Some get a chance to participate by winning a lottery, or by winning a spot in one of the many qualifying events held worldwide. It is by no means an understatement to say that the Ironman World Championship is the biggest challenge the sports world has to offer. Starting out with a 2.4 mile swim the race then transitions into a grueling 112 mile bike ride, and is finished with a 26.2 mile run. Being set in Hawaii some may think the scenery is beautiful, and it is, but at what point does your mind start to play tricks on you as you bike through the barren stretches of lava fields alone? The Ironman hasn’t always been in Kona on the Big Island. It started many years earlier among the tranquil shores of Waikiki beach on Oahu. It was later moved to Kona on the island of Hawaii where competitors would face a 140.6 miles of unforgiving terrain, 95 degree temperatures, and at one point of the race crosswinds reaching up to 45 mph. The Ironman’s greatest year came in 1982; with the men’s title already claimed camera’s turned to the women’s leader, Julie Moss, who had a strong lead going into the 26.2 mile run. As she approached the finish line, looking extremely fatigued, her legs simply gave way. She struggled a bit, but got back up and continued on. Just yards from the finish, as her opponent closed the lead, Moss’ legs quit. She tried and tried, but could not get back to her feet. She was left helpless, but in her moment of complete exhaustion she couldn’t quit. Her amazing feat of determination captivated onlookers, and inspired millions upon television broadcast.