The First-Ever Ironman Triathlon in History

We have to admit that joining an extreme sporting event such as the Ironman triathlon is a very huge decision to consider for every human being. Of course, there is always this curiosity to learn and participate, but it a little scary when learning about the kind of preparation that an aspiring triathlon player needs to undergo.

Like what many professional athletes say who joined this kind of sport, commitment is a very important factor to achieve the goal.

When learning about the history of this particular endurance competition, the first-ever Ironman triathlon happened on February 18, 1978 held in Mission Bay in San Diego, California. According to the published information through, John Collins is the person who is responsible in putting up this historical event to test the endurance of the best and strongest athletes that time.

Collins is a United States Navy official and when he established the first Ironman, about 15 people joined and competed for the included activities. The 3-stage event includes a 3.86-kilometer swimming (Waikiki Roughwater), 185.07-kilometer cycling and 42-kilometer running.

With this first triathlon competition, at least 12 of the participants completed the challenges and the declared winner in Gordon Haller. He was able to reach the finish line after nearly 11 hours, 46 minutes and 58 seconds. Haller became the first person to win the race and recognized as the IronMan.

Here is the complete list of finishers as published through

  1. Gordon Haller              11:46:40
  2. John Dunbar                12:20:27
  3. Dave Orlowski              13:59:13
  4. Ian D. Emberson          14:03:25
  5. Sterling F. Lewis          14:04:35
  6. Tom Knoll                   14:45:11
  7. Henry Forrest                15:30:14
  8. Frank Day                     16:38:31
  9. John Collins                 17:00:38
  10.  Archie Hapai               17:24:22
  11. Dan Hendrickson          20:03:28
  12.  Harold Irving                21:00:38

Collins succeeded on his plan after the first-ever competition of the best athletes and in year 1979, they scheduled the first edition of the Ironman and almost 50 people registered to compete. Unfortunately, the unexpected bad condition of the weather forced some of the athletes to pullout and 15 riders came on to compete for the event, out of 50.  For the first edition, Tom Warren went home victorious and finishing the event after 11 hours, 15 minutes and 56 seconds.

According to information shared about the history of that competition, Lyn Lemaire became the first woman to compete in such strenuous sporting event.

Without any doubt, the inauguration of the first-ever Ironman triathlon became the foundation of this successful long-distance competition on the world. To date, the World Triathlon Corporation (WTC) became the organizer of the Ironman events across the globe and usually the entire competition ends within 17 hours.

Based on the recorded data of the WTC, a participating athlete needs to survive the 3.86KM swimming event, 180.25KM cycling and 42,20Km running to reach the designated finish line. As expected, this is only a limited 1-day competition and the person who shows great endurance until the final stage wins the championship.

According to the information published through, the Ironman World Championship has an association with the original name “Ironman Triathlon.” This particular event is very popular in Hawaii and it reveals the toughest athletes in the world who are competing with each other.

It is very important to learn that the training of a competing athlete is hard and intense. Of course, we understand that not all athletes in the world can join this kind of sporting event and so those who are lucky enough can definitely reveal their strength.

Today, the format of this type of 3-stage competition remains the same and many people are becoming enthusiastic about it.


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