Ironman events comprise a 3.8-kilometre open-water swim, a 180-kilometre road cycle, and a marathon (42.2-kilometre) run.
Ironman New Zealand
Ironman New Zealand is a qualifying event for the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii. It was held annually in Auckland from 1985 to 1998, and in Taupō from 1999. The 1985 event inaugurated a new worldwide series, with 50 places in Hawaii on offer. Only 68 of the 340 starters were New Zealanders, and foreigners dominated in the early years. The number of entrants rose steadily, and in 2002, 945 competitors finished inside the cut-off time of 17 hours. The 2013 Ironman New Zealand attracted 1,430 entrants, the majority of them Kiwis. Olympic triathlon double medallist Bevan Docherty made a spectacular ironman debut at Taupō in 2013, setting a new race record.
The half-ironman-distance IronMāori event has been held annually in Napier since 2009. IronMāori emphasises healthy lifestyles as much as sporting performance. There were 300 entrants in 2009 and 800 in 2011. In 2017, seven IronMāori events in New Zealand and on the Gold Coast attracted a total of about 2500 competitors.
Ironman World Championships
The first Hawaiian Ironman, a 225-kilometre circuit around the island of Oahu, took place in 1978. The event was moved to the Kailua–Kona district of Hawaii Island (the Big Island) in 1981. Rick Faulding was the first New Zealander to compete, in 1982.
Cameron Brown won Ironman New Zealand 11 times and mounted the podium in Hawaii four times (twice second, twice third). Brown was Sportsman of the Year in 2001, having won the New Zealand Ironman, half-ironman, Olympic and sprint distance titles.
Women competed at Hawaii from 1979. Erin Baker won Ironman New Zealand four times in four attempts, and the world championship twice. By 2012 Baker’s three second placings in Hawaii were the only other medal-winning performances by a New Zealand woman.
Joanne Lawn won Ironman New Zealand seven times, from 2003 to 2008 inclusive and in 2010. Lawn also won many half-ironman events and Germany’s prestigious Challenge Roth ironman.
Terenzo Bozzone won the world half-ironman title in Florida in 2008.