What the HAYnes? What do Ironman and ‘Flashdance’ have in common?

Ironman Tony Stark / Robert Downey Jr. under creative commons from http://merlin.wikia.com/wiki/File:Iron_man_tony_stark_robert_downey_jr.jpg, Ironman triathlete Meredith Kesller, St. George, Utah, May 6, 2012 | Photo by Joyce Kuzmanic, St. George News

HUMOR – Ironman is here St. George.

Unfortunately, I am not referring to Robert Downey Jr. Although, I do find it interesting that the movie “Ironman 3” is opening this weekend – the very weekend that St. George is hosting Ironman 70.3.  If I had not already lost so much time forming the other three conspiracy theories that I have already formed today, I would try to formulate a conspiracy theory about this Ironman “coincidence.” It has been a busy morning.

Since “Ironman 3” did not open until Friday night, let’s talk about that other Ironman. The Ironman race is a fairly new addition to St. George’s list of Races Which Bring in Hordes of Tourists. Many people may be wondering how all of this long distance triathlon stuff began. Many people may be wondering why it is such a big deal. Many people are probably thinking, “Why would anyone subject themself to that kind of torture?”

I will start with how the Ironman began. Wikipedia legend has it that back in 1977 a bunch of participants of the O’ahu Perimeter Relay had a disagreement about who were the fittest athletes – the runners, the cyclists, or the swimmers. It would seem that the obvious answer – golfers – did not occur to them, eternally offending retirees everywhere.

Navy couple John and Judy Collins found a solution in combining three endurance races that already existed on O’ahu – the Waikiki Roughwater Swim, the Around-O’ahu Bike Race, and the Honolulu Marathon. The Ironman Triathlon was born, as was the trademarked saying, “Swim 2.4 miles! Bike 112 miles! Run 26.2 miles! Brag for the rest of our life!”

If you live to brag, that is.

On February 18, 1978, 15 athletes raced in the first-ever Ironman triathlon, 12 athletes completed the three events, and dozens of spectators – as inspiring as they found the triathletes to be – were just grateful that their friends did not try to rope them into it.

After the initial races in Hawai’i, race organizers were heard talking amongst themselves saying, “Well, that was fun, but how can we make this race even more torturous? I’ve got it! Let’s move it to 2,000 feet above sea level in the desert!” Ironman triathlons are now held in over 180 locations around the world, from Louisville, Ky. to Hokkaido, Japan to Nice, France.

The year 2005 saw the first Ironman 70.3, which is not to be referred to as a “half Ironman,” unless you are prepared to come to blows with someone who is in much better physical condition than you are. For those who have difficulty doing math, the Ironman 70.3 consists of a 1.2-mile open-water swim, a 56-mile bike ride, and a 13.1-mile run – or, exactly half the distance of a full Ironman triathlon.

This is no small feat, if you ask me. I salute these crazy triathletes, whose official mantra is “Anything is possible.”

Or as “What a Feeling” singer Irene Cara says, “Take your passion and make it happen!” That is what these triathletes will be doing this weekend. I think I am going to take my passion and make it happen as well. I will see you this weekend, Robert Downey Jr.

Elise Haynes chronicles family life in her blog Haynes Family Yard Sale. Any opinions stated in this column are her own and not necessarily those of St. George News.

Email: news@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2013, all rights reserved.

Ironman Tony Stark / Robert Downey Jr. under creative commons from http://merlin.wikia.com/wiki/File:Iron_man_tony_stark_robert_downey_jr.jpg, Ironman triathlete Meredith Kesller, St. George, Utah, May 6, 2012 | Photo by Joyce Kuzmanic, St. George News
Ironman Tony Stark / Robert Downey Jr. under creative commons from http://merlin.wikia.com/wiki/File:Iron_man_tony_stark_robert_downey_jr.jpg, Ironman triathlete Meredith Kesller, St. George, Utah, May 6, 2012 | Photo by Joyce Kuzmanic, St. George News

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