7 Facts You May Not Know About Ironman Triathlon


As any other triathlon event, the Ironman event challenges the participants in 3 areas: swimming, biking, and running. However, as compared to any other three-sport events, the Ironman triathlon is undoubtedly the most challenging one. With 3.86 km swim, 180.25 km bike and 42.2 km run, any finisher deserves the harsh title. Also, there have been many interesting stories related to this event. Thus, now let’s go to the amazing facts around Ironman triathlon that you may not know.

No break throughout the Ironman triathlon events

Ironman triathlon is tough, duh. But what you may not know is how tough it is. Typically, an Ironman triathlon event has 140 miles in total. (See the distance for other triathlon events in Popular Triathlon Events You Must Know). And what seems to make it the toughest sports event all over the world is that there is no break. Yes, the triathletes don’t stop throughout the entire race. Adding to that, this event has 17-hour time limit. So in the contest, you have to swim, bike, and run through 140 miles in more than half of the day. However, we may know that there are records in this event that some people just took about more than 8 hours to finish the race.


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It’s hard to resist the natural call

As the race does not have any break from start to finish, there have been some funny stories relating to this. One of them is about peeing. So, now you can imagine how a triathlete drains the central vein during the race. Typically, they will just slow down the speed a little bit, then lift themselves out of the saddle and do the work. And just so you know, it is the most common thing that happens in this event.

No other forms of locomotion but walking, running and crawling    

This rule again adds to how hard an Ironman triathlon event is. And among many norms and regulations for the participants, what may ridicule you the most is this one. In fact, you may be familiar with the crawling scenes of the athletes while trying to touch the finish line. One of the most famous crawling scenes is definitely from the Ironman 1997 event. And it witnessed the dramatic finish of Sian Welch and Wendy Ingraham. You have to admit that they did look funny with their awkward walks, but they sure did fight. And that scene is undoubtedly inspiring.

Besides the “running, walking or crawling rule”, this event is also known as other weird rules. One of them is “Neoprene or any other swim booties are prohibited”. And another is “The participant will be disqualified for indecent exposure or public nudity”. And what I say is “Who even do that?”. However, this rule is real, and for a second thought, they seem legit. Also, those who violate the rules will either receive the blue card – 5 minutes added to the overall time, yellow card – stop and go time or red card – disqualification.

Amateurs and professionals on the same course

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Ironman crowd

This opinion is true. However, the rule is that the amateurs will start after the professionals. And the difference in starting time is 30 minutes. It is also a reason making the Ironman triathlon event crowded with participants in the beginning. Additionally, this concept seems to make the event even more attractive. Because after finishing your own race, you can find yourself in the finishers’ area. And you may be so close to the winner. However, this concept does not make the event any less professional. In fact, it offers the uniqueness that you cannot find in any other sporting events.

Just finishing the race is an achievement

In this event, whoever finishes first is the Ironman. But it does not mean the others will come back home with bare hands. Typically, the finishers (of course, within the time limit) receive the certification or some gifts for their participation. Also, joining this event has long evolved beyond just as taking part in a professional sports event.

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Just finishing the race is an achievement

Many people, especially the young, have been hooked by the concept of the Ironman triathlon event. And much as necessary, they consider taking part in this event as a challenge to complete in their lives. In other words, this event is where you and find an exotic experience of winning yourself and contemplating natural beauty along the way. However, the path to being an Ironman athlete itself is not even accessible. See more in How Tough Is It To Be An Ironman Athlete.

Craig Alexander

He is the current record holder for the Ironman World Championship. In fact, he broke his own record. In 2009 event, he had the time race of 8 hours 20 minutes and 21 seconds. And 2 years later in 2011, the time was 8 hours 3 minutes and 56 seconds, which is about 17 minutes shorter. This Australian triathlete stunned the world not only by how fast he could finish the race but also by the number of medals he had in the Ironman triathlon events.

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Craig Alexander in his training

Specifically, he won the gold medal for 2008 Ironman World Championship and silver medal for the 2007 event. Also, in Half Ironman World Championship events, Craig won the gold medal in 2006 and 2001, and silver medal in 2012. This man had a long time experience in triathlon as he made his debut back in 1998 in the ITU Aquathlon World Championships. Most recently in 2014, Craig affirmed his entry into triathlon coaching.

The youngest and oldest Ironman finishers

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Hunter Lussi

The title of youngest Ironman finisher went to Hunter Lussi when he was 13 years old. Amazingly, one year later, he made his comeback to the event and reduced the finish time by 2 hours. Lussi inherited the passion for triathlon from his mom. And he is on the way to beat his mom in the Ironman World Championship.

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Madonna Buder

People call her Iron Nun; this amazing woman is the oldest Ironman finisher. And she finished the race at the age of 8 in the 2012 Subaru Ironman Canada event. We are talking about Madonna Buder. The story about Madonna has been a great motivation for the triathlon-enthusiasts. And if a woman can start her triathlon training at the age of 48, what is your excuse now?

Triathlete with most Ironman championship crowns

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Paula Newby-Fraser

She won 8 gold medals, one silver medal and 2 bronze medals in the Ironman World Championship. From 1988 to 1994, only in 1995 did she not win any medal. And she is Paula Newby-Fraser. So this is to show you how amazing this woman is. In fact, Paula was a nationally ranked swimmer when she was a child. And her adulthood is a long period of practicing and joining in the Ironman triathlon events. This woman seemed to have many prizes and medals for her achievement in triathlon. Also, she had full recognition in duathlon and ultramarathon.


The world of triathlon has a lot of wonderful stories. And this article hopefully brings you the most remarkable one. Also, it should be a source of motivation for those joining the path of being an Ironman athlete. Thank you for spending time reading my article, see you in my other pieces of writing.


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