In 1977, after a regular marathon in O’ahu, Hawaii, a few participants started talking about how to create an even tougher race. Apparently a marathon was not enough of a challenge for them. And since Hawaii was already home to bike and swimming races, the group agreed to combine all three and create one of the toughest challenges in sports. It became known as the Ironman and entails a 2.4-mile (3.86 km) swim, a 112-mile (180.25 km) bicycle ride and a full marathon at the end which is 26.22-miles (42.20 km).
The catchphrase “Swim 2.4 miles! Bike 112 miles! Run 26.2 miles! Brag for the rest of your life” was created and printed on the guide book, which every participant received.
The very first winner was Navy communications specialist Gordon Haller. Interestingly, a Navy Seal by the name of John Dunbar was ahead until the marathon. His support crew ran out of water and started giving him beer instead..
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