The Ironman World Championships in Kona is legendary in triathlon circles. It is considered the most gruelling one day endurance race in the world, consisting of a 3.8km swim, 180km bike followed by a full marathon.
This year some 2,000 participants ranging from 20 to 80 years old have qualified from around the world for the race which takes place on Saturday October 8th. Competitors will take on the blistering Hawaiian heat with the winner likely to finish in just over 8 hours while for many it’s a case of beating the all important 17 hour cut off time.
Three Irish triathletes will be competing this weekend, 33 year old Ivan O’Gorman from Limerick, 38 year old Robert Wormald from Cork and 38 year old Owen Martin from Newry.
Ivan who has travelled over in advance of the race in order to acclimatise to the conditions tells us “The tales of the course are fairly accurate, winds are really twitchy, humidity is heavy, the roadside is bordered by the Lava and you can’t really get away from the heat.”
Ivan qualified thanks to “a decent race” as he puts it, in Coeur d’Alene, where he placed 3rd in his age group in a time of 9:31. “I’m a hack of a swimmer, but biked well and finished up with a 3:03 marathon.”
Robert, who is also aiming to raise funds for the charity ‘Straight Ahead’, booked his place for the World Championships back in July when he placed 4th in the highly competitive 35-39 year age group. The time of 9:16 was one of the races of his life but says he’s struggled for form since then. “I’m putting it down to post race tiredness and a fairly heavy work schedule as a Doctor.”
“I’m self coached too which means I probably don’t do a lot of things right, I tend to learn from my mistakes.”
Owen Martin is making his second trip to Kona and is one of only two Irish triathletes to have dipped under the 9 hour mark. His time of 8:59 set in Austria took minutes off the previous Irish Ironman Record held by Liam Dolan, only to be out done by Martin Muldoon at the same race.
Owen’s preparations have been going well but you never can tell what’s going to happen over the course of a daylong race. “If I have no bike mechanicals or I don’t get the head thumped off me in the swim…. like I did last year…. All should go well.”