Top athletes compete in the 40th anniversary of the Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona

Local News

There are 45 athletes from Hawaii joining the 2,500 competitors in Kailua-Kona on Saturday, October 13 at the 2018 IRONMAN World Championship.

This year is the 40th anniversary of the original IRONMAN event.

The first IRONMAN was held in 1978 on the island of Oahu in the Waikiki area.

It was in 1981 when the race moved from Waikiki to Kona on the Island of Hawaii where it continues to take place.

This year’s IRONMAN has the largest international athlete field in race history with athletes hailing from 82 countries, regions and territories. 

Athletes ranging in age from 18 to 85 have earned their world championship opportunity by qualifying at one of more than 40 IRONMAN events worldwide.

“The evolution of this race over the past 40 years, from its modest beginnings to the iconic globally recognized phenomenon it has become, is truly extraordinary,” said Andrew Messick, President and Chief Executive Officer of IRONMAN. “From the very first race on the shores of Oahu, Hawaii in 1978, IRONMAN has carved out a unique legacy in sports history and the pinnacle IRONMAN World Championship event showcases the best global competitors from around the world every year. We look forward to the next 40 years as our athletes continue to shape history through extraordinary feats and life-altering journeys.”
The United States of America is the most represented nation with 640 registered competitors, followed by Germany (215), Australia (208), and the United Kingdom (130). 

Athletes will travel from 46 U.S. states, with the greatest number coming from California (91), followed by Hawaii (45), Texas (44), Colorado (38), and New York (35). 

Others from countries as far as South Africa, Brazil and Uzbekistan are traveling around the globe for their shot at a title.  
This year, returning age-group champions from the 2017 IROMAN World Championship on the women’s side include Sione Jongstra (NLD), Michaela Rudolf (AUT), Diana Hassel (USA) and Missy LeStrange (USA). On the men’s side, returning age-group champions include Antoine Mechin (FRA), Guillaume Montoisy (BEL), Christophe Lemery (FRA), Rick Simpson (USA), Simon Butterworth (USA) and Fidel Rotondaro (VEN).
Racing alongside the returning age-group winners is an inspiring group of athletes that includes:

  • Jordan Bethke, a former pro triathlete and current U.S. Navy EOD Officer stationed in Hawaii, who will be racing to support Kenton Stacy (#StacyStrong), a fellow EOD Officer critically wounded while serving in Syria
  • Rachel Brenke, a cancer survivor, mother of five, lawyer, and entrepreneur shows her commitment to sport and ability to balance what life can bring while achieving her goals
  • Leigh Chivers, who after suffering personal tragedies with the loss of both his wife Sara and 18-month-old son Alfie to brain cancer, will be looking to honor them while completing one of his wife’s dying wishes, to compete at the IRONMAN World Championship
  • Marcus Cook, in only a year and a half, Marcus dropped from 489lbs down to 233lbs. Following the death of close friend, Marcus decided to make huge lifestyle changes and now attribute his success to triathlon and will race for the IRONMAN Foundation after raising over $100,000 on his way to preparing for Kona.
  • Isabella del la Houssaye, is a mother of five, suffering from stage 4 lung cancer and has completed 15 IRONMAN events and 100 total marathons including one in each of 49 states. Isabella will race for the IRONMAN Foundation with the support of Ventum, and on race day, with the completion of the run portion of the IRONMAN World Championship brought to you by Amazon triathlon, Isabella will check the box for completing a marathon in all 50 states.
  • Elle Goodall, who dropped over 250lbs (115 kg) in a stunning lifestyle change that has taken her from fast food addict to the start line of this historic event
  • Bob Jordan, a father who was gifted an entry to the 1997 IRONMAN World Championship after his five-year-old daughter suffering from leukemia wrote letter to IRONMAN. 20 years later Bob qualified at IRONMAN Maryland and will race in her memory this year in Kona.
  • Kyle and Brent Pease, a dynamic team of brothers, Brent competing with his and younger brother Kyle, who has spastic quadriplegia cerebral palsy, will look to raise awareness for, motivate and enable athletes with disabilities in the brothers first trip to the IRONMAN World Championship
  • Sarah Reinertsen, the first above-the-knee amputee to finish the IRONMAN World Championship (in 2005) and a gold medal winning para-triathlete returns to Kona to celebrate her place in history and IRONMAN’s “40 Years of Dreams.”

Perfectly located on the west coast of the Island of Hawaii, Kailua-Kona offers the perfect year-round climate and is an ideal location for this iconic, single-day sporting event.

The 2018 field of athletes will tackle the ROKA 2.4-mile ocean swim in Kailua Bay, followed by the Ventum 112-mile bicycle ride along the Queen Ka’ahumanu Highway from Kailua-Kona to the turnaround in Hawi, capped with a 26.2-mile HOKA ONE ONE run beginning on Alii Drive, where spectators pack the roads, up Palani Road to the Queen Ka’ahumanu Highway, before making their way to the infamous Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority. Athletes will complete their journey to the roar of tens of thousands of spectators as they cross the historic Alii Drive finish line.
Additional historical facts and stats for this year’s IRONMAN World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii:

  • This will be the largest athlete field ever at the IRONMAN World Championship, with approximately 2,500 registered competitors
  • 72 percent of participants (1,791 athletes) are male
  • 28 percent of participants (685 athletes) are female
  • 43 is the average age of registrants this year
  • Hiromu Inada (Japan) is the oldest participant at 85, while Sydney Gardiner (United Kingdom) is the youngest at 18
  • 6 athletes will be celebrating their birthday on race day
  • Over 96,000 athletes register to compete in IRONMAN races each year, representing over 90 countries, regions and territories
  • Nearly 300,000 registered athletes representing over 200 countries, regions and territories competed in IRONMAN and IRONMAN® 70.3® races this year
  • 4 countries, regions or territories are sending athletes to the IRONMAN World Championship for the first time, American Samoa, Isle of Man, Lithuania, and Seychelles
  • 1,082 competitors representing 629 different TriClubs from around the world are racing at this year’s IRONMAN World Championship brought to you by Amazon (total 44 percent of the field)
  • 1,573 athletes racing in this year’s IRONMAN World Championship brought to you by Amazon are IRONMAN All World Athletes™ – roughly 64% of the athletes racing represent the top 10% of age group athletes in the world
  • 9 new IRONMAN and IRONMAN 70.3 races were established in 2018
  • More than 5,000 volunteers will help make the IRONMAN World Championship a success

Live race coverage of the 2018 IRONMAN World Championship brought to you by Amazon will be available on a number of platforms and on IRONMANnow at 

For live tracking, real-time results and instant notifications, fans can follow both the professional and age-group athletes on the IRONMAN Tracker app available for download from Google Play and the iTunes App Store. 

About IRONMAN World Championship brought to you by Amazon
Since its inception in 1978 on the island of Oahu, the IRONMAN World Championship has etched its name in history through stellar performances, inspirational participants and emotional memories. 

In 1981, the race moved from the tranquil shores of Waikiki to the barren lava fields of Kona on the Island of Hawaii where it continues to take place to this day. 

The race now sees approximately 2,500 athletes embark on a 140.6-mile journey that presents the ultimate test of body, mind and spirit to earn the title of IRONMAN World Champion. 

The most iconic one-day sporting event in the world is the culmination of 40 global IRONMAN events with athletes around the world striving for one of the coveted qualifying slots.
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