Ultraman (endurance challenge)

Ultraman is a three-day, 515 km (320 mile) multisport race modelled on the one held annually on the Big Island of Hawaii which is now called the Ultraman World Championship. "Ultraman" is a branding for events affiliated with the Hawaii original. Each race is divided into three stages over three days: The first is a 6.2-mile (10-km) ocean swim from Kailua Bay to Keauhou Bay, followed by a 90-mile (145-km) cross-country bike ride, with vertical climbs that total 6,000 feet. Stage two is a 171.4-mile (276-km) bike ride from Volcanoes National Park to Kohala Village Inn in Hawi, with total vertical climbs of 4,000 feet. Stage three is a 52.4-mile (84-km) double-marathon, which starts at Hawi and finishes on the beach at the Old Kona Airport State Recreation Area. Each stage must be completed within 12 hours or less. The swim portion of stage one must be completed in 5.5 hours or less. Participants who do not reach the finish lines within the time limits are disqualified, but encouraged to continue racing each day as participants.

This event attracts athletes who seek to explore the extreme in physical and mental abilities. The race is limited to 40 athletes on an invitation-only basis and attracts participants from around the world, including Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Italy, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Spain, Sweden, Slovenia and the United States. Racers must have reached their 20th birthday prior to the start of stage one. Each racer must be accompanied by an individual support team of at least two people over the entire course. Many support team members are volunteers from the Big Island community.

Ultraman World Championships Course Map
Hawaii course map


The first Ultraman Triathlon was held in 1983 and organized by Curtis Tyler, Alex Smith, and Conrad Will. Among the group Curtis Tyler served as original race director with the goal of having more than just a competition but an event which focused on the guiding principles of Hawaiian culture.... "aloha" (love), "ohana" (family), and "kokua" (help). In 1992 Tyler turned over Ultraman to Jane Bockus on the condition that there never be prize money. Jane Bockus, often referred to as "Ultra Momma", has kept the event the same with the exception of a course change in the years 2001 & 2002 with a start and finish in Kailua-Kona instead of the around the Big Island format. In 2017, Ultra Momma handed over the reins to her Assistant RD, and Sheryl Cobb took over as Race Director, with her husband David as Assistant RD. In 2018, David Cobb was added as Co-Race Director along with Sheryl.

Popularity of the previous course remained for many years, and things changed little until the 2018 Kilauea eruption. During the eruption, lava covered part of the race course in the area of "Red Road", a favorite section of the Day 2 course. The 2018 course was altered to account for this course blockage: Day 1 became an out-and-back course, ending back at T1 in Keauhou Bay; Day 2 became a challenging ride from Kona up and over the "Saddle" before meeting up with the old course, ending at Kapaa Park near Hawi; Day 3 remained unchanged, running from Hawi back to Kona. For 2019, the Day 1 course will return to the old Kona to Volcano course. Day 2 will need to alter slightly to account for the lava on Red Road, but will start in Volcano and end in Hawi as usual, and Day 3 will remain the same.

In 1993, a second Ultraman was organized in Canada (Penticton, British Columbia) which served as a qualifier event to gain entrance to Ultraman World Championships in Hawaii until 2014. A third event, Ultraman United Kingdom began in 2011 and was held in Wales for three years. Ultraman Florida launched in the Orlando region in 2014. Ultraman Australia launched in 2015 and was held in Noosa for three years. Ultraman Canada will return as a qualifier in July 2019, and Ultraman Arizona is set to launch in March 2020.

We came together as strangers, competed as friends, we part as brothers and sisters.

— Gerry van de Wint


Ultraman Swimmer with the required escort
Ultraman swimmer off the coast of Kailua-Kona with escort
UltramanJB run flag 2011 745
The fastest runners will complete the 52.4 mile double marathon under seven hours
Year Sex Place Athlete Age Nationality Time
1983 Men 1 Kurt Madden 28  United States 21:41:02
Women 9 (overall) Ardis Bow 27  United States 26:57:45
1984 Men 1 Scott Molina 24  United States 24:49:01
Women 13 (overall) Lyn Brooks 36  United States 33:15:24
1985 Men 1 Kurt Madden 30  United States 22:11:04
Women 3 (overall) Ardis Bow 29  United States 25:44:51
1986 Men 1 Jim Freim 40  United States 25:43:21
Women 23 (overall) Sherri Wellis 38  United States 33:31:19
1988 Men 1 Gary Shields 33  United States 24:42:01
Women 18 (overall) Manako Mizuntani 28  Japan 35:41:14
1989 Men 1 Gary Shields 34  United States 23:14:56
Women 8 (overall) Tina Bischoff 31  United States 25:45:51
1990 Men 1 Gary Shields 35  United States 22:19:16
Women 25 (overall) Angelika Castaneda 47  United States 31:27:45
1992 Men 1 Don Newman 33  United States 26:20:23
Women - - -- --:--:--
1993 Men 1 Hans-Juergen Schley 37  Germany 25:50:38
Women 13 (overall) Hiroe Fukushima 25  Japan 34:19:52
1994 Men 1 Daniel Schallmo 37  Germany 23:50:34
Women - - -- --:--:--
1995 Men 1 Kevin Cutjar 29  Australia 23:19:39
Women 22 (overall) Tracy Preston 25  Canada 32:25:37
1996 Men 1 Erik Seedhouse 32  Canada 22:51:36
Women - - -- ---:--:--
1997 Men 1 Peter Kotland 25  United States 21:52:51
Women 14 (overall) Tracy Preston 27  Canada 34:08:00
1998 Men 1 Holger "Holgie" Spiegel 26  Germany 21:41:22
Women 19 (overall) Tracy Preston 28  Canada 30:53:03
1999 Men 1 John Nickles 35  United States 22:46:27
Women 17 (overall) Linda Bialla 36  United States 29:19:00
2000 Men 1 Uros Velepec 34  Slovenia 22:15:08
Women 10 (overall) Monica Fernandez 33  Guatemala 28:08:09
2001 Men 1 Uros Velepec 34  Slovenia 22:44:30
Women 10 (overall) Monica Fernandez 33  Guatemala 27:56:54
2002 Men 1 Gordo Byrn 33  New Zealand 23:24:56
Women 12 (overall) Conny Dauben 27  Germany 28:32:59
2003 Men 1 Alexandre Ribeiro 38  Brazil 22:20:26
Women 6 (overall) Shanna Armstrong 29  United States 27:31:51
2004 Men 1 Jonas Colting 31  Sweden 21:41:49
Women 16 (overall) Lauren Fithian 46  United States 32:03:16
2005 Men 1 Alexandre Ribeiro 40  Brazil 24:32:28
Women 4 (overall) Shanna Armstrong 31  United States 28:03:34
2006 Men 1 Jeff Landauer 39  United States 24:30:47
Women 9 (overall) Shanna Armstrong 32  United States 28:13:11
2007 Men 1 Jonas Colting 34  Sweden 21:59:44
Women 8 (overall) Shanna Armstrong 32  United States 26:43:24
2008 Men 1 Alexandre Ribeiro 43  Brazil 21:49:38
Women 10 (overall) Shanna Armstrong 34  United States 26:25:03
2009 Men 1 Alexandre Ribeiro 44  Brazil 22:10:12
Women 7 (overall) Shanna Armstrong 35  United States 25:48:46
2010 Men 1 Mike Le Roux 34  Australia 21:55:57
Women 5 (overall) Amber Monforte 32  United States 24:07:11
2011 Men 1 Alexandre Ribeiro 46  Brazil 22:09:54
Women 6 (overall) Amber Monforte 33  United States 24:42:02
2012[1] Men 1 Alexandre Ribeiro 47  Brazil 22:51:12
Women 3 (overall) Amber Monforte 34  United States 25:29:09
2013[2] Men 1 Miro Kregar 51  Slovenia 23:42:07
Women 3 (overall) Hillary Biscay 35  United States 24:30:50
2014[2] Men 1 Tobias Winnemoeller 35  Germany 23:28:14
Women 7 (overall) Yasuko Miyazaki 37  Japan 25:40:49
2015[2] Men 1 Mike Coughlin 42  Canada 21:44:18
Women 15 (overall) Staci Studer 42  United States 28:29:28
2016 Men 1 Inaki De La Parra 33  Mexico 22:34:18
Women 6 (overall) Kate Bevilaqua 39  Australia 24:44:04
2017[3] Men 1 Rob Gray 41  United States 22:19:49
Women 9 (overall) Steffi Steinberg 36  Germany 26:02:27

Ultraman Events

As of December 2018, there are four existing Ultraman Triathlons. Ultraman Florida, Ultraman Canada and Ultraman Arizona all serve as qualifiers for Ultraman World Championships


UltramanJB SwimPier 99 2011

Swim escorts prior to Stage One 6.2 mile swim at Kaiakeakua Beach

Ultraman stage3 brazilian 2011 ©rick.kent

The Stage Three 52.4 miles is mostly run on the Queen Kaahumanu "Queen K" Highway which must be completed in under 12 hours

2010.ultraman swimmer.paddler ©.rick.kent

Swimmer with required escort

Alexandre.Ribeiro red.road UMWC 2011

Frontrunners of Stage Two 171 mile bike followed by a media vehicle along the Red Road

UltramanJB Stage3 33 run.circle

Participants gather in a circle with support crews and staff in an outer circle before 52.4 mile run

2011Ultraman jane.sheryl.ruth.dave

Ruth Wildman, Ultra Momma Jane Bockus, Race Directors Sheryl Cobb and Dave Cobb

Ultraman run.finish old.airport Rick©Kent

Final stretch of 52.4 mile run at the old airport. Participants frequently complete the journey with family, friends, and support crew

Great Finish at Ultraman World Championship 2011 Andrés Traslosheros

The energy of finishing an Ultraman

Ultraman flowers run.finish 2011 Rick©Kent

Finishers are awarded a lei from Jane Bockus

Ultraman finish family 2011 Rick©Kent

Some participants use family members for support crew adding to the ohana

See also


  1. ^ "2012 Day 3 Overall Results". Ultraman World Championships. Retrieved November 26, 2012.
  2. ^ a b c "Results: Ultraman World Championships". Ultraman World Championships. Retrieved April 1, 2015.
  3. ^ Slowtwitch.com. "Rob Gray, Steffi Steinberg take Ultraman Worlds Overall". Slowtwitch.com. Retrieved 2017-11-29.

External links

Conrad Will (triathlete)

Conrad Will (July 29, 1941 – September 11, 2002) was one of the early pioneers in the sport of Triathlon. A member of the famed “San Diego Track Club” and “Horny Toads” running group in San Diego, California, he competed in some of the earliest triathlons in the late 1970s. In 1981 he participated in the Ironman Triathlon in its first year on the Big Island of Hawaii. He competed in Ironman Hawaii 6 times in his 40s and 50s. In 1984 he set a world record in the 40-49 age group at the Ultra Distance triathlon in Massachusetts. A few days later, he won the over 40 national title in the Long Course Triathlon in Colorado.Outside of competition he was an even greater contributor to the sport of triathlon. He worked closely with Valerie Silk and the Ironman Triathlon to bring the sport to a larger audience and in 1983 he produced and directed the first ever Ironman “spin-off”, the Ricoh Ironman in Los Angeles. That same year he went on to create and co-found the annual three-day Ultraman (endurance challenge), also in Hawaii, which more than doubled the distances of the Ironman. In 1984 he was elected board president of the national governing body for the sport USA Triathlon, then called Tri-Fed. In his efforts to race faster, Mr. Will also invented and manufactured the QWIKFIL tire inflation device, which greatly reduced the time needed to repair a flat tire.

John Maclean (sportsperson)

John Alexander Maclean, OAM (born 27 May 1966) is an Australian triathlete, rower, and motivational speaker. A promising rugby league player in his youth, he became a paraplegic after being knocked from his bicycle by a truck in 1988. He subsequently became the first paraplegic to finish the Ironman World Championship and the first to swim the English Channel. Later, he was part of the athletics team at both the Olympics and Paralympics in 2000, and won a silver medal in rowing at the 2008 Beijing Paralympics. In 2014, he completed the Nepean Triathlon without using a wheelchair, after regaining some use of his legs through Ware K Tremor therapy. He is the founder of the John Maclean Foundation, which assists wheelchair users under the age of 18. As a motivational speaker, his clients have included eBay and Pfizer.

Toti Fernández

Mónica Fernández, better known as Toti Fernández (born in Guatemala City on March 18, 1968) is a triathlete and ultramarathon runner, lecturer, author, entrepreneur and mother. She won the 2000 and 2001 Ultraman events.


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