The Freeman Newspaper. By Bobby Motus. Hawaii, up to now, has three existing long distance competitions - the Waikiki Roughwater Swim (3.8 km), Around Oahu Bike Race (185 km) and the Honolulu Marathon (42 km). To end the raging debate among the three groups of athletes as to which group is more fit, a US navy commander, John Collins, himself and his wife a participant of the Mission Bay Triathlon, suggested to combine the three long distance races.
In the early morning of February 18, 1978, 15 men registered and started for the first ultra-distance event. At the bottom of registration form was the declaration, "Swim 2.4 miles! Bike 112 miles! Run 26.2 miles! Brag for the rest of your life!" Collins further declared, "Whoever finishes first, we'll call him the Ironman." Of the 15 men entered, 12 finished the race and the world's first Ironman is Gordon Haller, who did the killer course in 11 hours, 46 mins and 58 seconds... Read more