Ironman origins and features
Many are unaware that Hawaii is the birthplace of Ironman triathlon challenge. John Collins was the one who brought together the three races (swimming, cycling and running) that will be held in the archipelago in order to show who was the athlete with the greatest strength. On February 12th, 1978 this first triathlon challenge was held. Then only twelve athletes from fifteen completed the race.
The ironman gathers in a single competition 36.6 km of swimming,180 km of cycling and 42.2 of running race that must be completed in a maximum of 17 hours.
The Iroman challenge in Spain
In May 1985 this first competition (called Volcano Triathlon) was held in Spain, taking place in Lanzarote. The Volcano Triathlon was made up of 1.5 km of swimming, 40 km of cycling and 10 km of running race. That time the competition was organized by Kenneth Gasque, employee at La Santa Sport complex, currently Club la Santa, who was one of the competitors in the Hawaii ironman for several years (85, 87 and 89).
With an entrepreneurial vision, Kenneth quickly understood the importance of the event both for the island's visiting tourism and for promoting sports among the youngest. In this way, he tried to start the competition as a Hawaiian qualifier, with no luck, since he didn’t get the support of the Hawaiian organizers. Still, he didn’t give up, and applied to qualify for the Roth competition in Germany. There he succeeded and 60 places were assigned to Lanzarote’s triathlon.
It was in 1991, when Lanzarote’s Cabildo was invited to visit the Hawaiian race, when institutional support for its own competition began.
The Iroman challenge in Lanzarote
The Ironman Lanzarote Canarias is an annual event in which the participants complete 3.86 km of swimming, 180.2 km of cycling and 42,195 km race. It’s held from Puerto del Carmen and it’s a qualifying race for the World Championship that is held annually in Hawaii.
Lanzarote’s Ironman is a special race, not only for its difficulty, but also for its spectacular scenery. The route along the length and breadth of the entire island and its 2,500 meters of elevation is witness of spectacular landscapes. Even so, the race is tough. The strong wind prevailing on the island makes the journey harder, already difficult due to the orography and the suffocating heat. According to experts, all this makes it the hardest Ironman in the world.
2000 athletes aged between 18 and 80 and from over 80 nationalities come together in Lanzarote’s Ironman, touring the entire island. The growth in the number of athletes has been remarkable, going from 148 competitors registered in 1992 first edition to 1767 athletes in 2018.
Additionally, a total of 25,000 euros are distributed among the top finishers in the men's and women's races.
The children's modality of the competition is carried out for boys and girls between 7 and 17 years old, and runs from 50 m to 400 m of swimming and 440 m to 1400 m of running race, according to each age groups.
Unfortunately, and as a consequence of COVID19’ pandemic, the 2020 edition was cancelled, having been rescheduled for May 2021.