The History of the IRONMAN Race

IRONMAN Race pic
IRONMAN Race pic
IRONMAN Race
Image: ironman.com

A veteran of the financial services industry, Frank Cardia leads his own company, Blue Sky Financial, which helps clients with their investment and insurance needs. Outside of work, Frank Cardia participates in long-distance running and cycling and has completed five full IRONMAN races.

The first IRONMAN race traces its origins back to 1977, when naval officer John Collins and his wife attended an awards ceremony for the Waikiki Swim Club. Having completed numerous triathlons, the two started to wonder which athletes were stronger: cyclists, swimmers, or runners. They decided to combine their rigors by creating the first IRONMAN challenge, which featured the 2.4-mile Waikiki Rough Water Swim, the 112-mile Around-Oahu Bike Race, and the 26.2-mile Honolulu Marathon.

The first IRONMAN challenge brought together 15 participants, including Collins, on February 18, 1978. Competitors were given simple instructions: “Swim 2.4 miles! Bike 112 miles! Run 26.2 miles! Brag for the rest of your life!” Only 12 competitors finished the race, with the winner, Gordon Haller, finishing in 11 hours, 46 minutes, and 58 seconds.

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