[Masthead] Fair ~ 52°F  
High: 68°F ~ Low: 43°F
Monday, May 2, 2016

Cherokee woman to compete in grueling Hawaii event

Monday, October 23, 2006

Deb Hankens
Cherokee cross country coach Deb Hankens will be competing in the Ironman Triathlon in Hawaii on Saturday, but she won't be the only Iowan competing.

They will all test their physical and psychological limits, as they swim 2.4-miles, bike 112 miles and run a 26.2 mile marathon in the scorching Hawaii temperatures.

The Iowa competitors include:

Lars Brudvig, Ames 2005 Ironman Collegiate National Championships, 2004 Iowa State University Academic All-American.

John Trible, Waukee Competed in the Ironman World Championships in 2003 and 2004.

Doug Vander Wede, West Des Moines First Time Competing!

Deborah Hankens, Cherokee 25th year in the triathlon sport, only triathlete in her town, and a local High School coach.

Robert Lyle, Burlington 75 years old, competing in his 10th Ironman.

Hankens will leave for Hawaii this weekend.


The 2006 Ironman will be held October 21, 2006, beginning at 6:45 a.m. (pro start) and 7:00 a.m. (age group start)

Competitors have 17 hours to finish the race; cutoff times are applied to each segment of the race.

The Ironman Triathlon was born on the Hawaiian island of Oahu in 1978. During the awards ceremony for a Hawaii running race, a debate ensued among competitors about which type was more fit -- swimmers, runners or other athletes. One of the participants, Navy Commander John Collins and wife Judy, dreamed up a race to settle the argument. He proposed combining three existing races together, to be completed in succession: the Waikiki Roughwater Swim (2.4 miles), the Around-Oahu Bike Race (112 miles, originally a two-day event) and the Honolulu Marathon (26.2 miles).

"Whoever finishes first we'll call the 'Ironman,'" said Collins. Fifteen men participated in the initial event held on February 18. Only 12 completed the race, led by the first Ironman, Gordon Haller. Haller's winning time: 11 hours, 46 minutes and 58 seconds. The event was moved to the Big Island in 1981, to the town of Kailua-Kona.

The swim segment begins and ends at Kailua Pier. The bike race travels north on the Kona Coast through scorching lava fields and then along the Kohala Coast to the small village of Hawi, and then returns along the same route to transition. The marathon course travels through Kailua-Kona and onto the same highway, the Queen Ka'ahumanu used for the bike course.

Contestants run back into Kailua-Kona, coming down Alii Drive to the cheers of more than 20,000 spectators at the finish line.

More than 1,800 competitors, from over 50 countries and 46 states, will take part in this year's Ironman. Most qualify through the Ironman/Ironman 70.3 Qualifying Series worldwide; nearly 50,000 athletes enter qualifying events annually. Over 5,000 athletes enter the Ironman race lottery, which awards 150 slots to U.S. citizens, 50 slots to international athletes, and five slots to physically challenged athletes. In recognition of their athletic accomplishments, the 2005 age group champions automatically qualified for the 2006 race.

A total prize purse of $580,000 is distributed among the 10 male and female finishers. The first-place male and female finishers each receive $110,000, while the second place finishers both receive $55,000. For the first time in 2005, a total of $20,000 worth of Timex Ironman Watch Bonuses were made available to athletes.

Triathlon fans can follow every stroke, spin and stride live on race day by visiting www.ironman.com. Real-time race results, live audio and video updates by well-known triathletes such as Greg Welch, as well as text updates and photos are available.

The competition will be televised on NBC, on Saturday December 9, from 4 p.m.- 6 p.m.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: