The interesting origins of

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Apr 232002
 
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Triathlons take dedication and training. They require endurance and maybe even a little masochism.

It makes you wonder about the guy who dreamed up these crazy endurance events. What was he thinking?

Triathlons grew out of the biathlon tradition of a consecutive swim and run. In 1974, fitness enthusiast Jack Johnstone of the San Diego Track Club convinced race coordinators to add a biking leg to a popular biathlon, according to http://swimming.about.com.

The first annual Mission Bay Triathlon consisted of a 6-mile run, a 5-mile bike and a 500-yard swim.

Since then, the triathlon has grown in popularity and evolved as a sport. According to www.triathleteclub.dnswh.com, the USA triathlon organization has over 30,000 members.

Triathlon’s international popularity became apparent when it was made an Olympic sport and debuted at the 2000 Sydney Games.

The famous Hawaii Ironman Triathlon began in 1978, four years after the first triathlon, as a way to settle an argument over whether swimmers, bikers or runners were better athletes. John Collins, a Navy commander, and his Navy SEAL friends decided a race consisting of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike, and a marathon – 26.2 miles – would settle the score.

Whoever won would be called “The Ironman.”

The original even had 12 finishers. The 2001 Ironman had over 1500 participants, according to www.triathleteclub.dnswh.com. s

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