Ironman events liven up Kona

Karin Stanton | Hawaii 24/7 Editor

With just four days until Ironman World Triathlon Championship, Kona town is starting to come alive with athletes, visitors and a slate of public events.

Tuesday afternoon highlights included the Keiki Dip N Dash race and the colorful Parade of Nations.

At 4 p.m., some 200 future triathletes dipped their toes into Kailua Bay and dashed along Alii Drive.

The short course featured a 50-yard swim and 0.25-mile run; the long course included a 150-yard swim and 0.9-mile run.

Each participant was awarded a medal and post-race snacks.

The young athletes also were invited to join in the Parade of Nations along Alii Drive.

The parade was led by grand marshall Elizabeth Maluihi Ako Lee, who personifies this year’s theme of Aa Na Maka Na Aa, or the Sparkling Eyes of My Roots.

Hundreds of 1,928 triathletes represented their countries along the parade route, which ended at the Ironman Village Expo at Hale Halawai.

A total of 64 countries will be represented in Saturday’s race. The countries with the most competing athletes are the United States (820 triathletes), Australia (243 triathletes), Germany (164 triathletes), Canada (128 triathletes) and Great Britain (84 triathletes).

Of the American competitors, the majority — 143 — are from California, and 54 are from Hawaii.

Countries with just one athlete include: Costa Rica, Croatia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Estonia, Greenland, Gibraltar, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Iceland, Korea, Martinique, Morocco, Peru, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Seychelles, Singapore, Slovakia, Taiwan, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates and Zimbabwe.

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