This October, real life superheroes will descend on the Big Island of Hawai‘i for the 40th annual Ironman World Championship in Kona. The best athletes in the world will tackle a grueling course consisting of a 2.4-mile ocean swim, a 112-mile bike ride across jagged lava fields, and a 26.2-mile marathon in 95-degree heat for the chance at a title, and the ability to brag for the rest of their lives. Held on the Kona coast of Hawai‘i, this is the pinnacle of sports and an incredible spectacle of the power of human perseverance.
Staying the Course at the Ironman in Kona
While athletes must qualify in order to compete in the Ironman in Kona, it is much easier to join the throngs of people lining the course as spectators (there are, after all, 138.2 miles of course to watch). The race begins on October 13, 2018 at 6:35am. With the sounding of the starter’s pistol, the field of thousands of competitors – a stark contrast to the field of 15 individuals at the first Ironman in 1978 – will hit the sands along Ali`i Drive and sprint into the ocean at full speed to begin the first leg of the journey: a 2.4-mile whitewater swim. Upon returning to shore, athletes must don their bicycling gear and saddle up for a 112-mile trek across the barren lava fields of black basalt, battling the dreaded “ho’omumuku” – 95mph cross-winds that tear across the plains after descending from the mountain summits high above. Finishing that, a literal marathon awaits in the heat of the day. And at the finish line? Glory for all. And for a few, the championship of a lifetime.
Anyone who appreciates the spectacle of sport and the resilience of the human spirit will appreciate witnessing the Ironman World Championship in Kona in person. Join the masses at the starting line, or join the tradition of erecting a cairn of white stones amidst the black lava fields to cheer on your favorite athlete. No matter how you choose to take in this year’s Ironman World Championship, you can be sure to will be a race to remember.