Ironman – The Ultimate Endurance Race in Hamburg Germany


I recently went to Hamburg and this is when I discovered the Ironman Challenge. When seeing or hearing the word “Iron Man”, most people’s reaction may be to think of the famous movie and comic; “Iron Man”, but today there are real iron men and women around the world: These people love to ride bikes, swim, run, and they dare to challenge the 3.8 km swim, 180 km bike ride and 42.195 km run of which this special challenge consists. These people are a special breed of athletes called “Iron Men” and “Iron Women”.

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This time I was very fortunate to witness this exciting challenge in Hamburg. Unfortunately, this time, because of the continuous high temperature in Hamburg in the summer, the lake was full of harmful algae, so they had to cancel the swimming this time and replace it with a 6km run instead. The ground temperature exceeded 30 degrees and with this kind of exposure, it was a huge challenge, but even then everyone did not slack. Everyone step by step by their own accord had to reach that finish line sprint.

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Because this is a set of extreme endurance challenges for swimming, cycling and long-distance running, coupled with the hot weather, many participants slowly start to lose strength due to long-term physical exertion, and some people even start to cramp their legs. They cramped, but they didn’t give up at all. They endured the pain and heat of the body and tried their best to go to the finish line step by step. Everyone on the track deserve to be admired and are worthy of being cheered. In the challenge, even if they didn’t get the top rankings, their spirit of not giving up is very valuable. It is still worth applauding. Especially the female contestants on the track. Because of the special constitution of women, they can’t imagine that they not only have to overcome psychological pressure. It is also necessary to overcome the inherent weaknesses in the body to challenge the game. They bravely stand up from the constant fall and challenge their own limits. They pay a price we can’t imagine, and they let us “feel the power” like we have never felt it before.

The people who participate in the competition are not professional athletes. They may be students or maybe people who are doing unremarkable work. They are just sports enthusiasts. They have to train themselves after work or study. Many people at the beginning of coming in contact with these sports did not receive professional guidance and they might have failed many times. The body suffered many injuries because of the wrong training at the beginning, but they relied on their own love for sports and strong willpower to not give up. On the track and before completing the challenge, many people will not even have swam at all before taking part in the “Iron Man” Ultimate Endurance Challenge. Many people are busy studying or working, and usually do not even run long distances or ride. Maybe by chance via a friend or in media reports he or she learned about the Iron Man Challenge and fell in love with it.

Today, hundreds of thousands of triathletes from all over the world challenge themselves and prove to friends, relatives and themselves that “everything is possible”. They are a group of ambitious people. They are representatives of brave and fearless people. They constantly challenge themselves. They embrace nature with sweat. They must also be people who love life and do not easily give up when they encounter difficulties. They know better than ordinary people. The philosophy of life in sports.


The Origin Of Ironman

Ironman originated from a discussion at a Hawaiian pub. At a dinner after a match in 1977, a question about “runners or swimmers are more robust” sparked an argument between Colonel Collins and his friends. During the discussion, Collins mentioned that the great Belgian cyclist Eddy Merckx had incredible lung capacity and thought that it was very likely that the cyclist was the strongest. Although this debate did not distinguish between winners and losers, it put a whimsical thought into Collins’s mind: “Why not combine the most famous three endurance sports on the island into one, so that you can determine which one The athletes are the strongest?”. The three sports are the 3.862km Waikiki swimming race (Roughwater Swim), the 185km Ouhu bicycle roundabout (surrounding the Oahu cycling race) and the 42.195km Honolulu Marathon. At the evening of the band’s performance, Collins took the stage and issued the challenge, saying that the first person who crossed the finish line would be crowned the title of “Iron Man”. The idea of Collins was not implemented immediately. It was not until 1978 that the Collins family officially organized this extreme long-distance endurance race, and the first Super Iron Man race in history was born.

On the day of the first Ironman competition on February 18, 1978, only 18 contestants appeared on the field and three people retired after the game had not started. Before the game, each player got a three-paper event manual with a simple display of the rules and routes. On the last page, handwritten a sentence that has now become a registered trademark – “Swim 2.4 miles! Bike 112 miles! Run 26.2miles! Brag for the rest of your life!” (Swim 2.4 miles, 112 miles, 26.2 miles, For the rest of your life, you will be proud of it!) In the end, 12 players completed the game. John Collins took nearly 17 hours to complete the game, and the winner was a retired US Navy correspondent, taxi driver Gorden Haller. 11:46:58, the first iron man in history.

In 1979, the Collins family continued to organize the second Super Iron Race. This time 50 players signed up. However, due to the weather, the game had to be delayed for one day, resulting in more than half of the players retiring. In the end, there were still only 15 players competing. Later, the American Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) called Collins, hoping to obtain his permission to shoot the 1980 Iron Man. Collins agreed to ABC’s shooting request, but gave two conditions: ABC must bring its own shooting team; live broadcasts must not add extra fees to the game. In this way, the 1980 Super Iron Race became famous, and the Collins family had to move out of Hawaii before the start of the game because of the work transfer. Before leaving, Collins handed over some letters from athletes from all over the world to the club of a local health club. Officially transferred the right to host the super-iron to the two without any money transactions, but Collins received two promises: he can play for free at any time; the elite group will reserve a quota for the amateurs, because it is the ordinary people who created the Super Iron Race, and this tradition continues to this day.

The two broadcasts of ABC in 1980 and 1981 made more people aware of the game. The iconic moment that really made the Hawaiian Iron Man event popular in the world appeared in the women’s team competition in 1982. At the final sprint, the leading college student Julie Moss was only a dozen meters away from the finish line. She fell to the ground due to severe dehydration and after struggling several times failed to stand up, Julie Moss began to climb to the finish line. Although she was overtaken by another player in the end and missed the championship, thousands of Americans saw this on TV.

After decades of development, the Ironman series event has developed into a global event, attracting tens of millions of endurance sports enthusiasts to participate in the event, John and Judy Collins as the founder of Ironman also entered the Iron Man Hall of Fame.


Source: Anyabelle’s Fashion             Editor: Ms.Anyabelle

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