For those of you who find the Hawaiian Ironman World Championships on Kona just too short, you'll be happy to know that every year the Big Island also hosts the Ultraman World Championships in November.
Considered one of most daunting and grueling endurance races on the planet, this 3-day / 320-mile, double-ironman distance triathlon circumnavigates the entire Big Island.
In case you are still curious the Ultraman is raced over three days in three stages:
Stage I: 6.2-mile (10 km) ocean swim from Kailua Bay to Keauhou Bay, followed by a 90-mile (145 km) cross-country bike ride. Vertical climbs total 6,000 feet.
Stage II: 171.4-mi (276 km) bike ride. Vertical climbs total 4,000 feet
Stage III: 52.4-mile (84 km) double-marathon run from Hawi to Kawaihae.
This year the race was won by Aussie Mike LeRoux in 21:55:57 on the men's side and American Amber Monforte in 24:07:11 on the women's side.
But in second place for the women was Hillary Biscay a veteran of 47 ironman race. According to the excerpt below from THIS recent blog entry the Ultraman was the hardest race she's ever done:
"As you probably already know by now, the final day of Ultraman is comprised of a double-marathon run. I went through a rough time from about miles (approximating here because I did my best to tune out what mile I was on) 18-36, but managed to come back to life for the last 16 or so, which enabled me to put myself in the hurt locker. Hurtbox. Pain cave. Take your pick. But I was just relishing having energy and legs at this late stage, so I decided to really dig in and leave everything out on the Queen K. At first I was just wanting to make sure that I took everything I could from this Ultraman experience–to get what I came for. But in the end I was forced to push past this point into the realm of dying animal noises and a place I have not been since I had to make a pass at mile 25 to win Ironman Wisconsin: with about 4 miles to go, I was told that I had to make up 3 minutes on 6-time Champ Shanna Armstrong in order to claim second.
I managed to make up 6 minutes, but once I crossed that line, I was physically unable to do anything. I actually could not even leave the finish area for 3 hours because I was in such bad shape. Ian and Maiki had to physically carry me from place to place, and every time I tried to get up, I would just collapse again. My AMAZING crew´s duties extended well beyond the finish line because I was completely useless."
Photo Credit: Hawaii 24/7 photo by Karin Stanton
2010 Ultraman World Championships
Top Five Men
1. Mike LeRoux, 21:55:57
2. Jonas Colting, 22:19:54
3. Slater Fletcher, 22:21:54
4. Alexandre Ribeiro, 23:56:42
4. Christian McAvoy, 24:16:42
5. Nino Cokan, 37, 25:03:18
Top Five Women
1. Amber Monforte, 24:07:11
2. Hillary Biscay, 32, 24: 40:28
3. Shanna Armstrong, 24:43:57
4. Kathy Winkler, 44 25:35:23
5. Megume Kobayashi, 28:07:37