Its been a long time since I raced in Kona, but I don't believe the Ironman-Hawaii course has changed all that much.
The swim course I'm sure, is much the same as it was back in the early 80's. Its truly unforgettable. Water so warm, that wetsuits are unnecessary. Tropical fish to marvel at for pretty well the length of the entire course. Water so clear, the bottom is clearly visible.
The better to see the scuba divers sitting on the ocean floor, waving at you. Then making the turn at captain bean's boat with the bright orange sails---crowded to overflowing with spectators.
Best of all is the current that seems to propel you towards shore as soon as the turn is made.
The one downside to the entire swim experience is the sun that will be glaring into your eyes if you breathe to the right on the way back. For this reason alone, I would be sure to be able to breathe comfortably on both sides so you can have at least some relief from the sun if necessary. Also, tinted goggles are a big help.
When you can make out the church steeple through the sun's glare, you are almost home and finished the first leg of Iroman-Hawaii.
The bike leg for the most part has stayed intact as well. There is no escaping the endless miles of hot ashphalt of the now famous King K highway.
The heat made even more oppressive when its absorbed and reflected by the lava rock that monopolizes the landscape. On the very hot Ironman days, heat waves are clearly visible as you strain to see the road ahead. In 1984 they were our constant companion as the temperature broke through the 100 degree mark out on the highway. To this day Ironman-Hawaii 1984 is still the hottest Ironman on record
Then there is the long climb to the turn-around that is much more than just another hill. The hot winds sweep in from the ocean and can throw you to the ground in a second if you allow yourself to lose concentration. Finally, on the way home and waiting expectantly for the tailwinds that are sure to come, but for some reason never materialize.
Its with a great sense of relief and accomplishment that one reaches the bike-run transition only to head back out into nature's oven once again.
The run course thankfully is fairly flat and the climb out of Kona might be the biggest hill of all. I'm not entirely positive as some of the run course has changed. Still once again, there is no avoiding the oppressive heat that has spelled the end to many Ironman dreams, especially for many pros as they are running full out in the heat of the day.
If there is any consolation to being an age-grouper intent on just finishing the Hawaii-Ironman, its that you get to run in the coolness that comes with the setting sun.
As you make the turn and head home for the final time it is truly a spectacle to behold as lite-sticks dot the landscape like yellow diamonds flickering in the sudden darkness of the Hawaii night.
The most welcome sight an age-grouper can see is the glow from the lights of Kona as you edge closer and closer to your Hawaii-Ironman dream.
The town is packed with spectators as you reach the long finishing stretch and make the final dash over the same ground that has seen so much drama over the years. Dave Scott, Tinley and the Puntos twins.
Mark Allen and Julie Moss. Erin Baker, Paula Newby-Fraser and who can forget Laurie Bowden and husband Peter.
So much history and so many great names. If only it were possible for every Ironman to compete on this hallowed ground. It is just so moving and an experience one can never forget.
If you are indeed "Ironstruck," it should be your mission to be part of the grandfather of all Ironman events worldwide. Ironman-Hawaii--so much more than a race.
Article Source: http://www.articledashboard.com.
My name is Ray and I have competed in endurance events for over 25 years. Including 14 Ironman races. Also, I've created a site called "Ironstruck" full of racing and training tips for the beginner triathlete/novice ironman.
By: Ray Fauteux -