Categorized | Featured, Multi-sport, Sports

The ‘average’ Ironman triathlete

(Photo courtesy of Ironman)

(Photo courtesy of Ironman)


“Average” is a word not typically associated with Ironman athletes.

Considering the accomplishments and abilities of athletes ranging from Craig Alexander and Chrissie Wellington to Robert McKeague, Charles Plaskon and Ricky James, it will take quite a fitness explosion for the media to refer to Ironman athletes as, well … “Average Joes.”

With this preoccupation on extraordinary feats, it is easy to overlook the fact that most competitors hold more in common with the general population than one might expect.

They are doctors, attorneys and firemen. They may even be your neighbor.

2011: Of the more than 1,800 athletes who started last year’s event, 72 percent were male and 28 percent were female. The countries most represented were the United States, Germany and Australia.

Some of the areas of occupation with the highest percentage of athletes were: accountants, students, attorneys, consultants, sales managers and scientists. Other athletes were: writers, artists, dentists and architects.

The male 40-44, 35-39 and 45-49 were the age groups with the highest number of athletes. The youngest athletes scheduled to compete were Konoka Azumi, 21, of Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan and Brandon Perea, 19, from Hilo, Hawaii.

The Ironman World Championship had more than 30 athletes over the age of 70, including 2011’s oldest registered competitors, Harriet Anderson, 76, of San Carlos, Calif., and Lew Hollander, 81, from Bend, Ore.

2012: Of the approximately more than 1,900 athletes featured in this year’s event, 73 percent are male and 27 percent are female. The countries most represented are the United States, Germany and Australia.

Some of the areas of occupation with the highest percentage of athletes are: business owners, engineers, doctors, teachers and fitness consultants. Other athletes are: musicians, postal employees, airline pilots and computer analysts.

The male 40-44, 35-39 and 45-49 are the age groups with the highest number of athletes. The youngest athletes scheduled to compete are Dane Ballou, 19, of Seabeck, Wash., and Andi Cribari, 19, from Lyndhurst, Ohio.

The 2012 Ironman World Championship features nearly 49 athletes over the age of 70, including this year’s oldest registered competitors, Sister Madonna Buder, 82, of Spokane, Wash., and Lew Hollander, 82, from Bend, Ore.

You could be thinking, ‘‘I could do that, but what does it take to train?’’ Never fear, there are average times for this, too. Triathletes train an average of seven months for Ironman. The average hours per week devoted to training for Ironman generally fall between 18 and 30-plus.

Average training distances for each discipline include:

1) Miles per week swimming: 7 (11.3 km)
2) Miles per week biking: 225 (373.3 km)
3) Miles per week running: 48 (77.2 km)

Support Requirements

The numbers are astounding. More than 500,000 items must be set-up, put together, washed, cleaned, picked up or disposed of during the Ironman World Championship.

All of this for an event that lasts less than one full day.


291,000 paper cups
52,800 sponges
9,900 bike bottles
90,850 water bottles
8,000 feet of mesh fencing
20,860 safety pins
18,486 gear bags
407 tables & 442 chairs
3,500 towels
3,000+ wrist bands
8700 feet of metal barricades
1,000 trash cans
2,150 swim caps
2,150 run numbers
2,150 bike numbers
52 jars of petroleum jelly
1412 (4 oz.) bottles of sunscreen
2208 bike racks
100 massage tables
171 coolers
100 cots
130 luas
223 ice chests
75 tents
100 computers
12 bleachers
100 printers

Food & drink

82 pounds of ice
31,697 gallons of fluid replacement,
cola, water and soup
38,652 packets of PowerBar Gel
10,000 PowerBars
75 cases of bananas
63 cases of oranges
1,350 bread rolls


20,000 spectators
5,000 volunteers
2,150 triathletes
300 security
350 journalists
150 police
5 on-site announcers


200 cellular phones
40 landline phones
9 fax machines


54 motorcycles
50 surfboards
30+ vans
25 patrol boats and kayaks
25+ cars
20+ trucks
12 shuttles
2 outrigger canoes


1,850 medals
10,000 race programs
8,000 posters
1,500 badges
170 trophies


15 portable cameras
12 drivers
4 motorcycle cameras
1 camera-equipped helicopter
1 crane
1 jib

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