Analysis. History. Perspective.

Sports Then and Now

Ironmen – Elite and Everyday

Posted on August 08, 2013 by Daniel Lofthouse
Chrissie Wellington has developed into a record-setting triathlete.

Chrissie Wellington has developed into a record-setting triathlete.

In the past, feats including marathon and triathlon were accolades only a few could boast. Only the elite were understood to have the natural capability and mental strength for such challenges. Today, this notion is all but eroded. Today, ‘ordinary’ athletes train around family and professional commitments to not only complete, but to race in prestigious events. Regular people have a thirst for ambition and continue to push personal and industry boundaries.

The Ironman Triathlon, for example, is a pursuit that is growing in availability, and popularity, against all odds. The 2.4-mile swim, followed by 112-mile bike ride culminating in a marathon distance run is a daunting prospect for even the fittest of athletes.  In its infancy, the event wasn’t wholly competitive, more a quest for survival. The achievement was simply to finish within the stated time. It was the intense rivalry between Dave Scott and Mark Allen that catapulted the legendary Kona Ironman from test to race, in 1989.

Another personality making Ironman history is world- champion, Chrissie Wellington, who is the only triathlete- male or female- to have won the Ironman TriathlonWorld Championship less than a year after turning professional. Formerly a marathon runner with little background in endurance, Chrissie Welllington went on too lower the world record every time she raced the triathlon Challenge Roth in Germany.

Today, in our communal thirst for a challenge and personal excellence more amateurs than ever are taking on the Ironman. The growth in popularity of the sport is evident in the provision of dedicated kit and supplies. High Octane Sport, for example support brave partakers in ironman and triathlon. They feature a specific triathlon range- suited to the discipline including wetsuits that use the latest advances in production techniques to allow the wearer to perform to the very best of their ability.

The lure of the Ironman lies in the need, and avoidance, of control. A participant craves the control of mind and body that is implicit in the demanding training schedule of the event. On the flipside, they seek the uncontrollable potential of the day itself- the enduring uncertainty of one’s ability for the challenge. Consistency and standard of race day kit, routine and mantra is all reflections of this tension between control and lack of; a balance with direct influence on performance.

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