A Brief History of the Ironman World Championships

1988

  • Paula Newby-Fraser becomes first women to break five hours on the bike. Wins in record-breaking 9:01:01

1989

  • Following an eight-hour, neck-and-neck race, Mark Allen accelerates in the final two miles to edge Dave Scott by 58 seconds and win in 8:09:15
  • Paula Newby-Fraser inches closer to becoming first woman under nine-hours -- 9:00:56

1990

  • World Triathlon Corporation formed after veteran triathlete Dr. Jim Gills buys Ironman
  • Alterations to the race course take it to the south end of Alii Drive and along the Natural Energy Lab of Hawaii Road

1991

  • Mark Allen makes it three-in-a-row -- 8:18:32
  • Paula Newby-Fraser takes her fourth title -- 9:07:52
  • 1,312 finishers is an Ironman record

1992

  • Mark Allen wins unprecedented fourth consecutive title in record time of 8:09:08
  • Paula Newby-Fraser becomes first woman to eclipse nine-hour mark -- 8:55:28

1993

  • 35-year-old Mark Allen races to fifth consecutive title in 8:07:45
  • Paula Newby-Fraser joins Dave Scott as only people with six Kona victories -- 8:58:23

1994

  • Paula Newby-Fraser makes it seven with fourth consecutive title -- 9:20:14
  • Australian Greg Welch comes in at 8:20:27, four minutes, five seconds ahead of 40-year-old Dave Scott
  • Dr. Jon Franks becomes first wheelchair competitor in race's history. Franks misses bike cutoff time, but completes entire 112-mile bike course using a hand-powered bike

1995

  • Mark Allen returns to Ironman World Championship after one-year hiatus and claims sixth Ironman title in seven years finishing in 8:20:34
  • Karen Smyers passes Paula Newby-Fraser with less than a quarter-mile left in race to win in 9:16:46
  • Headwinds on the course reach up to 45 miles per hour
  • Darryl Haley, 6'5", 300 lbs., former NFL offensive lineman, becomes largest athlete to ever complete the race

1996

  • Belgian Luc Van Lierde, becomes first European athlete to win the event, setting the current course record in his initial Ironman with a time of 8:04:08
  • Paula Newby-Fraser wins eighth Hawaii Ironman title in 9:06:49, running down Iron-rookie Natascha Badmann of Switzerland during the latter part of the marathon

1997

  • Strong headwinds averaging 30 mph slow the bike, and cloudless skies with temperatures in the low 90s combine to produce the slowest finish times in a decade
  • Heather Fuhr of Canada claims first Ironman title in 9:31:43
  • Physically-challenged division debuts. John MacLean of Australia becomes first athlete to power a hand-crank bike and wheelchair to an official finish
  • Jim Ward competes as the first 80-year-old in race history

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