This weekend the triathlon season wraps up with the pinnacle race of the season. There is perhaps no single day racing event that rivals the IRONMAN World Championship and if you’ve never watched one, I highly suggest you tune in. The can’t-miss event kicks off on Saturday, Oct. 14, at 6:35 a.m. for the pro men and 6:40 a.m. for the pro women.

For those unfamiliar with the event. An Ironman covers 140 miles, making it arguably hardest one-day endurance race in the entire world. Athletes begin with a 2.4 mile open ocean swim, then they jump onto a bike and pedal through a 112 mile cycle segment, and then finish the day by progressing to ‘the run’. ‘The run’ being a regulation length marathon – 26.2 miles. Professional triathletes will complete all that in just over 8 hours.

The Ironman originated on a night back in 1978. John Collins, a naval officer who was stationed on Hawaii came up with the idea of combing three of the toughest races that were held on the island. On February 18, 1978, 15 competitors took on the three discipline challenge, and John Collins declared that “whoever finishes first, we shall call him the Ironman”. The rest is history.

If you think the race is hard, the training is torture. Ironman triathlon participants train really, really hard. The typical training distances per week for an in-training Ironman athlete are around seven miles of swimming, 200 miles of cycling and 30 miles or running. This video breaks it down quite nicely:

While we all can’t all head to Kona to watch the athletes compete in the 2017 Ironman World Championship race, there are a few ways to follow the action:

  • Ironman.com – The official site of IRONMAN will be hosting free live coverage and a video feed of the race.
  • IRONMAN Tracker App (iOS/Android) – If you don’t have 8 hours to spend in front of the TV Saturday, you can track the race from your phone.
  • NBC Sports – The IRONMAN World Championship will play on NBC this Saturday starting at 12:30pm with intermittent coverage until the finish at 10pm. A recap of the race will play on NBC Saturday, December 9th at 2:30pm

If you need more impetus to watch, just take 45 minutes and watch this recap of the best IRONMAN ever raced, the legendary Iron War. The 1989 IRONMAN was an epic contest between two of the best triathletes of all time Dave Scott and Mark Allen.

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