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The History of the 2012 Ironman World Championship on the Big Island of Hawaii

In 1978, in Hawaii, a debate arose to define who between runners, cyclists, or swimmers was the toughest athlete. To decide, the US naval commander John Collins and his wife, Judy, proposed a challenge: whoever would win a race combining the three disciplines would be called “Ironman.”

How Did the Ironman Competition Begin?

Fifteen men participated in the 1st edition, on February 18th, 1978. Twelve finished the race won by Gordon Haller, sacred first Ironman with a time of 11 hours, 46 minutes and 58 seconds. Waikiki is the birthplace of Ironman, but the race was moved to the Big Island of Hawaii in 1981.

Today, the world’s athletes compete endurance and effort for a chance to participate in the Ironman World Championship.

How to Qualify for the Ironman World Championship

Professional athletes earn points to qualify to the Ironman World Championship held in Hawaii correlating to their result. Athlete’s five highest scoring races will count toward their Kona pro ranking. The top 50 male and top 30 female pros in the KPR at the end of each qualifying year will qualify to race in Kona.

Volunteering at the 2012 Ironman World Championship

I would not have learned and shared all of this with you if I would have not volunteered for the 34th Ironman World Championship this past weekend. My Hawaii Life teammate Karen Bail and I had fun helping people achieve their goal. It was fun to give back and to meet people all from all over the world. I’m a French Wahine after all!

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Beth Thoma Robinson, R(B)

October 16, 2012

We didn’t volunteer this year but enjoyed walking down from our home to Akoni Pule Highway to cheer the athletes as they approached the bicycle turnaround in Hawi. I’m always inspired by the seemingly ordinary people who manage to train and compete at these distances!

Beth Thoma Robinson, R(B)

October 16, 2012

We didn’t volunteer this year but enjoyed walking down from our home to Akoni Pule Highway to cheer the athletes as they approached the bicycle turnaround in Hawi. I’m always inspired by the seemingly ordinary people who manage to train and compete at these distances!

Pam Deery R(B) Big Island

October 16, 2012

We were up at 4:00 a.m. to get to town and a good spot on the sea wall ourselves for the start! Had to laugh as the neighbors next door to us were competing and they just turned on their lights as we were leaving!! Hmmmm….

We stayed for the end. Long day; although I am sure much longer for the athletes than us sitting in the stands fanning ourselves and eating shaved ice.

Great coverage Catherine!

Pam Deery R(B) Big Island

October 16, 2012

We were up at 4:00 a.m. to get to town and a good spot on the sea wall ourselves for the start! Had to laugh as the neighbors next door to us were competing and they just turned on their lights as we were leaving!! Hmmmm….

We stayed for the end. Long day; although I am sure much longer for the athletes than us sitting in the stands fanning ourselves and eating shaved ice.

Great coverage Catherine!

Kathy Awai, R(S)

October 16, 2012

It’s the volunteers that make this huge event so successful. I admire all the athelete’s. Their dedication along with the volunteers is what makes this whole event such an exciting, huge success.

Kathy Awai, R(S)

October 16, 2012

It’s the volunteers that make this huge event so successful. I admire all the athelete’s. Their dedication along with the volunteers is what makes this whole event such an exciting, huge success.

Annie Mendoza, (RS)

October 17, 2012

The Ironman brings so much to the Big Island! To be involved even just as a spectator or volunteer is inspirational…I do it every year. When I watched my first Ironman, it was the first year they held it in Kona…what a great memory!!

Annie Mendoza, (RS)

October 17, 2012

The Ironman brings so much to the Big Island! To be involved even just as a spectator or volunteer is inspirational…I do it every year. When I watched my first Ironman, it was the first year they held it in Kona…what a great memory!!

Todd Barrett, R(S)

October 17, 2012

Great post Catherine! I’m always a sucker for the history and back story of event both current and in the past; well written.

Todd Barrett, R(S)

October 17, 2012

Great post Catherine! I’m always a sucker for the history and back story of event both current and in the past; well written.

Catherine Klug, R(S)

October 17, 2012

There are certain components that make up a truly great athlete. Strength, speed and stamina are all important elements, but there are other valuable ones as well, like faith and determination. I have to agree with you all the Ironman is a true inspiration!

Catherine Klug, R(S)

October 17, 2012

There are certain components that make up a truly great athlete. Strength, speed and stamina are all important elements, but there are other valuable ones as well, like faith and determination. I have to agree with you all the Ironman is a true inspiration!

Catherine Klug, R(S)

October 17, 2012

I have to agree with you all the Ironman is a true inspiration! There are certain components that make up a truly great athlete. Strength, speed and stamina are all important elements, but there are other valuable ones as well, like faith and determination.

Catherine Klug, R(S)

October 17, 2012

I have to agree with you all the Ironman is a true inspiration! There are certain components that make up a truly great athlete. Strength, speed and stamina are all important elements, but there are other valuable ones as well, like faith and determination.

Karen Bail

October 29, 2012

It was a lot of fun….we’ll be there next year, too. I remember when we drove alongside the athletes in our cars and cheered them on. They didn’t close the roads back then. I sound like an old geezer….But it was a lot more laid back then….competitors competed for the shirts….sometimes they did not come in until the next day…walking the course…camping out along the way. Now it is a truly professional competition among an elite group. Rock on, Iron Men… on the big rock!

Karen Bail

October 29, 2012

It was a lot of fun….we’ll be there next year, too. I remember when we drove alongside the athletes in our cars and cheered them on. They didn’t close the roads back then. I sound like an old geezer….But it was a lot more laid back then….competitors competed for the shirts….sometimes they did not come in until the next day…walking the course…camping out along the way. Now it is a truly professional competition among an elite group. Rock on, Iron Men… on the big rock!

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