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Insights on IRONMAN World Championship in Kona

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Decades ago, Naval Officer John Collins was stationed in Hawaii. Attending an awards banquet for the Waikiki Swim Club along with fellow athletes, a rather interesting topic was broached. They began discussing which types of athletes were the most fit. Was it swimmers? Bikers? Runners? The discussion was certainly colorful and led to him and his wife, Judy, deciding to combine the three types of activities – swimming, biking, and running – into one endurance race.

That’s how IRONMAN was born. And on February 18, 1978, it was the first-ever of this competition with 15 competitors, including Collins himself, in Waikiki for the Hawaiian IRONMAN Triathlon. Now, the competition boasts hundreds of thousands of triathletes from all over the world who want to prove something to the people around them, and to themselves that anything you put your mind to is possible.

From the start, IRONMAN has been all about the ambitious and courageous. It has inspired those who never thought they could do it to discover more about their capabilities. In turn, those that were inspired to greatness through IRONMAN have led to the inspiration of others. It’s like a huge pay-it-forward cycle of inspiration.

Take 46-year-old Triny Willerton for example. After gaining much weight from having her kids, she pushed through her fear and began working with a coach at her gym. She challenged herself to train for IRONMAN. Her journey is a huge inspiration to women everywhere, especially those in her age bracket. She’s shown that facing fear unlocks one’s true potential. For her IRONMAN was the way to face those fears. Her key messages for other women are to change your perception of yourself, be brave for others, and celebrate yourself and the women surrounding you.

Willie Stewart, an IRONMAN triathlete who had lost his arm, came from an intense darkness. He began running and by taking those initial steps out of the darkness, he found a community of support and embraced a better mentality.

There are countless others (including our own Takei Rikako!) with inspiring stories to tell from every corner of the world. While their stories are each unique, they all carry the same thread. Each of these impressive triathletes has overcome their own personal hurdles and burdens to partake in IRONMAN and each has grown tremendously for their efforts.

As we mentioned above, we have our own special story to follow this year!Our own Takei Rikako, who once worked at Phiten is looking forward to her 4th time at IRONMAN! Follow along on our blog as we follow the journey of Takei Rikako as she shares her journey to the IRONMAN World Championship in Kona with us!

This year also marks the 40th Anniversary of IRONMAN!We invite you to watch the video embedded below for some inspiration …. We celebrate with all those competing this year!


If you are in a place in life where you feel stagnant or need to believe in yourself, there’s nothing like training for IRONMAN to test your limits. It’s not going to be easy, but the rewards are endless even if you don’t win. You’ll discover more to love about yourself which is really one of the most important things you can ever do in your lifetime.

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