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10 fun facts about the Ironman World Championship

How much body weight do triathletes lose when they compete in the Ironman World Championship? What's the smallest margin of victory? All the fun facts about triathlon's biggest race, that you probably didn't know...

Did you know that Kona’s first non-American winner was Canadian Sylviane Puntous in 1983? The countdown is on and the 2017 Ironman World Championship is now under a month away. As triathletes around the world get ready to watch the pros and top age-groupers take on triathlon’s biggest race, we thought we’d give you some interesting facts about Kona you may not know.

  1. Paula Newby-Fraser is the athlete with the most Ironman World Championship wins under her belt. From 1986-1996, she won gold eight times. Her finishes in 1987 and 1990 may not have been first place but were still podium finishes.
  2. There is a small hill at mile 25.3 of the run course. It is now officially known as Mark and Dave Hill in honour of Mark Allen and Dave Scott’s famous “Iron War” in 1989 when the two legends raced side by side for the entire race. Allen eventually passed Scott at this exact point during the run.
  3. Ironman World Championships weren’t originally held in Kona. The race moved from the island of Oahu in 1981 after three years.
  4. Jan Frodeno is the only athlete in the history of the sport to hold both an Olympic gold medal and Ironman world championship title (he has two, from 2015 and 2016 and is going for his third this year).
  5. Every year, two days before the race there is a 1.2 mile “underpants run” for charity. It has become an important part of the race weekend with many participants (both pros and age-groupers) and to date has raised over $240,000 for local charities.
  6. The world’s first Ironman was Gordon Haller who completed the 1978 race in 11:46:58.
  7. Participants lose approximately 4% of their body weight on average during the Ironman World Championships.
  8. Athletes are not allowed to use disk wheels on the Kona course. This is because of the incredibly strong crosswinds on the island, sometimes averaging over 60 mph.
  9. There is now a minimum age requirement of 18 years old to compete at the Ironman World Championships, but 14-year-old Rodkey Faust is the youngest ever finisher. He finished in 13:36:17 in 1982.
  10. Do you remember when Julie Moss famously crawled across the finish line in 1982? Her loss to Kathleen McCartney was the smallest margin of victory in Kona history. McCartney won by a mere 29 seconds.