Categorized | Multi-sport, Sports

2014 Ironman: A diverse and global affair


Ironman has released the official list of competitors for the 2014 Ironman World Championship presented by GoPro in Kailua-Kona on Oct. 11, with this year’s field comprising one of the most diverse and global group of competitors in the 36-year history of the most iconic endurance event in the world.

More than 2,000 athletes representing 68 countries and territories on six continents will compete in this year’s Ironman World Championship, which comprises a 2.4-mile open-water swim, 112 miles of cycling and a 26.2-mile run, all of which must be completed within 17 hours in order for athletes to be recognized as official Ironman finishers.

In addition to returning world champions Frederik Van Lierde of Belgium and Mirinda Carfrae of Australia, the other competitors are as diverse a group as has ever competed in Kona.

They include 84-year-old nun Sister Madonna Buder, the oldest woman ever to finish an Ironman triathlon; NASA and European Space Agency (ESA) astronauts Chris Cassidy and Luca Parmitano; Italian CART racing legend and Paralympic handcycle champion Alex Zanardi; Don Davey, former NFL defensive tackle for the Green Bay Packers and Jacksonville Jaguars; and Apolo Ohno, the eight-time Olympic medalist in short-track speed skating and BUILT WITH CHOCOLATE MILK athlete.

“It is a testament to the growth of Ironman and the sport of triathlon to see such an impressive and varied international turnout at this year’s Ironman World Championship.” said Andrew Messick, CEO of Ironman. “No matter where they call home or who they are, one common mission unites all 2,000 athletes traveling to the hallowed grounds of Kona to compete in the Ironman World Championship — crossing the finish line to hear ‘You Are an Ironman.’”

While triathletes ranging in age from 18 to 84 have qualified to compete in the World Championship, the average age of 2014 age groupers is 43.5, well above the age average of professional triathletes at 33.7. The overall average age is 43.1

The United States is the most represented country with 777 competitors, accounting for nearly 35 percent of registrants this year.

Athletes from 49 U.S. states are represented, with the greatest number coming from California (123), Hawaii (61), Colorado (58), Texas (48) and New York (43).

Internationally, Australia has the most athletes competing with 297, followed by Germany (150), Canada (134), Great Britain (113) and France (88).

Additional historical facts and stats on the field competing this year in Kailua-Kona:

* 72 percent of participants (1,570 athletes) are male

* 28 percent of participants (625 athletes) are female, which marks the largest female field at the Ironman World Championship. With 625 female participants there is a nine percent increase in female participants from last year.

* This will be the largest athlete field ever at the Ironman World Championship

* 92 race participants (54 males, 38 females), or 4 percent of the total field, are professional athletes

* Great Britain has produced the women’s Ironman World Championship winner in five out of the past seven years, with Chrissy Wellington winning four of those seven and Leanda Cave winning in 2012

* Australia has been dominant in the men’s field, claiming the men’s Ironman World Championship six of the past seven years with Craig Alexander winning three of the seven events and Pete Jacobs winning in 2012

* More than 5,000 volunteers will help make Kona a success; Ironman globally relies on approximately 356,000 race volunteers per year

* More than 204,000 registered athletes representing over 200 countries and territories competed in Ironman and Ironman 70.3 races this year.

* 24 new Ironman and Ironman 70.3 races were added in 2014



Having already conquered “the final frontier” many times over, NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy and European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Luca Parmitano have accepted a new mission and will reach for the stars at the 2014 Ironman World Championship triathlon presented by GoPro on October 11 in Kailua-Kona.

Cassidy and Parmitano will be among 2,000-plus top athletes from around the world competing in the iconic event’s 2.4-mile open water swim, 112-mile bicycle ride, and 26.2-mile run.

Despite their millions of miles in space, the World Championship will be both Cassidy and Parmitano’s first attempt at the 140.6 mile Ironman triathlon.

“There are certainly parallels between preparing for a space mission and training for the Ironman World Championship,” said Cassidy, who served in the U.S. Navy SEALs for 10 years. “Both require a great deal of mental and physical tenacity. That said, I am sure there will be moments during the 140.6 mile race that my muscles will be begging for a bit of zero gravity.”

Cassidy, who currently serves as lead of the Extravehicular Activity (spacewalking) Branch of the Astronaut Office, and Parmitano, who is a major in the Italian Air Force, began at NASA in May 2004 and ESA in May 2009, respectively. The two joined forces on Expedition 36 – a six-month stay on the International Space Station which traveled 2,656 orbits of earth totaling over 70 million miles.

“Chris and Luca are exceptionally accomplished professionals whose work has taken them on journeys most of us can’t even imagine,” said Ironman CEO Andrew Messick. “Although Ironman is a completely different kind of accomplishment, the road to becoming an Ironman incorporates many of the same skills that are required of Luca and Chris in their work as astronauts —discipline, passion, strength and determination. We’re honored to be a part of their ‘giant leap’ to realize new goals in endurance sports.”

The 2014 Ironman World Championship presented by GoPro can be viewed live exclusively on

The comprehensive coverage will capture every aspect of the race and features an Athlete Tracker and live blog.

The 2014 Ironman World Championship broadcast will air on NBC on Saturday, Nov. 15.

About Ironman

The iconic Ironman Series of events is the largest participation sports platform in the world. Since the inception of the Ironman brand in 1978, athletes have proven that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE by crossing finish lines at the world’s most challenging endurance races. Recognized for excellence through distinguished events, world-class athletes and quality products, Ironman has grown from a single race to a global sensation with more than 190 events across five unique brands: Ironman, Ironman 70.3, 5150 Triathlon Series, Iron Girl and IRONKIDS.

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