Living on the Big Island, you come to know that there’s a day in October every year that you just plan on not going anywhere, that is until this year. Now there are two days every October that you stay put. The Ironman has historically been a one day event but as of 2022, was turned into a two day event, the Women’s race on a Thursday and the Men’s race the following Saturday. The island shuts down the main highway from Kona to Hawi, which is about a 50 mile stretch.
Today was the first year that we watched the race in person. After watching the triathletes make their way to Hawi down at the turnaround, we went home and finished watching the race on TV. Marathons and triathlons are not something we’ve been into, but this year, we were glued to the TV for hours. Watching the race this year was extremely exciting and made new fans out of us. We plan on cheering for some favorite triathletes next year.
The turnaround in Hawi is a particularly thrilling place to watch. These athletes, who have just ridden their bikes all the way from Kona in the heat, are cheered on by the crowd that is enjoying the comforts of good eats and shade of downtown Hawi. All of us who live here in North Kohala, at the end of the island, understand the pain of that grueling hour long Kona drive. So to watch a group of people who have chosen to ride their bikes there and then turn around and ride back, that incredibleness is not lost on us.
What a feat this triathlon is and seeing it up close and personal is an inspiring way to spend an afternoon. If you’re on the island in October, taking a moment to cheer on the athletes at the Ironman is 100% recommended.