Hiromu Inada, an 80-year-old man from Yachiyo, Japan, and Harriet Anderson, 79, of San Carlos, Calif. — along with triathletes as young as 18 and hailing from 52 countries around the globe — are among the 2,000 elite competitors who will tackle the annual Ironman World Championship on Oct. 12.
The 2013 field of athletes, which has grown from just 12 finishers in 1978, will tackle a 2.4-mile open water swim, 112-mile bicycle ride and 26.2-mile run within 17 hours. In order to qualify for the World Championship athletes earned slots at Ironman or Ironman 70.3 events held worldwide.
“What an amazing testament it is to Ironman and the sport of triathlon to have more than 2,000 athletes from 48 states and 52 countries competing at this year’s World Championship,” said Andrew Messick, CEO of Ironman.
“Roughly 80,000 athletes strive every year to be among the 2,000 to compete on the hallowed grounds of Kona. The Ironman World Championship is not only the pinnacle of endurance racing – but also one of the most inspiring sporting events,” he said. “Every athlete has a story to share about how they got to the start line – and why they want to cross the finish line to hear ‘You are an Ironman.’”
While athletes of all ages have qualified to compete in the World Championship, the average age of 2013 male registrants is 42 and the average age of female registrants is 40, defying commonly held notions about peak physical performance.
The ages of Ironman World Championship athletes are almost as varied as their countries of origin. The United States is the most represented with 756 competitors, accounting for nearly 35 percent of entrants this year.
In all, athletes from 48 states are represented, with the greatest number coming from California (111), Hawaii (54), New York (53), Texas (49) and Colorado (47).
Internationally, Australia has the most athletes competing with 260, followed by Germany (204), Canada (141), Great Britain (88) and Switzerland (73).
Additional historical facts and stats on the field competing in the 2013 Ironman World Championship in Kona-Kailua:
* 74 percent of participants (1,597 athletes) are male
* 26 percent of participants (570 athletes) are female
* 39 percent of Kona participants have completed 10 or more Ironman and/or Ironman 70. 3 events
* 91 race participants (53 males, 38 females), or 4 percent of the total field, are professional athletes
* Great Britain has held on to the women’s Ironman World Championship title the last five out of six races, with Chrissy Wellington winning four of six races and Leanda Cave winning in 2012
* Australia has been dominant in the men’s field, claiming the men’s Ironman World Championship six consecutive years, with Craig Alexander winning three of the six races and Pete Jacobs winning in 2012
* More than 5,000 volunteers will help make Kona a success; Ironman relies on approximately 356,000 race volunteers per year
* More than 185,000 registered athletes compete in Ironman and Ironman 70.3 races each year, representing more than 160 countries
Last year’s Ironman World Champions, Pete Jacobs (AUS) and Leanda Cave (GBR) will return for this year’s race, along with several first-time competitors including celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay, Super Bowl MVP and “Dancing with the Stars” champion Hines Ward and Sugarland guitarist Thad Beatty.
NBC will air the Ironman World Championship special Saturday, Nov. 16.
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