Let the countdown begin! The triathlon of all triathlons is soon upon us. If you are an Ironman distance triathlete there really is no bigger race in the sport than the Ironman World Championships.

The grueling competition dates back to 1978. What started as a debate among athletes about who is more fit- swimmers, runners or other athletes- has now turned into a worldwide phenomenon. Fifteen men participated in the original race with twelve crossing the finish line. Since that time the participant size and the event in general has grown exponentially. Over the years the event has been regarded as the most honored and prestigious triathlon event worldwide.

This October almost two thousand competitors from over 50 countries and all 50 US States will arrive in Kona for the race of the season. The coveted Kona slots will be sought after by more than 50,000 athletes from all over the world.

Competitors will have 17 hours to complete the 2.4 mile ocean swim, 112 mile bike race and 26.2 mile run, all under the hot Hawaiian sun. The average temperatures for the race can range from 82 to 95 degrees with around 90 percent humidity. During the race more than 26,000 gallons of fluids will be consumed, not to mention 600 bottles of sunscreen among many, many more necessities needed to complete this arduous event.

The athletes competing in Kona definitely don’t get there overnight. The average competitor will spend 18 to 24 hours a week training, while a typical week of training may include 48 miles of running, 7 miles of swimming and 225 miles logged on the bike.

More than 25,000 people will cheer on the athletes as they cross the finish line. Another 50 million people will watch the event on television. Among those watching in excitement will be the folks at GU Energy Labs. As for the thousands of athletes who will compete in Kona this year, the event is an exciting time for GU. It’s not only a chance for GU to celebrate the sport in which we fuel, but more specifically a time to watch the athletes we’ve been cheering on all season.

GU Athlete Mirinda Carfrae is one of the most notable athletes going into this year’s World Championships. Carfrae will be the defending women’s champion and is definitely on the hunt to repeat her success of last year. So far it has been an incredible season for Carfrae with two wins already under her belt from Rohto Ironman 70.3 California and Subaru Ironman 70.3 Eagleman. Throughout her professional career Carfrae has routinely dominated the field; there is no doubt that will continue and she will be a force to be reckoned with at this year’s World Championships.

GU is also excited to welcome back Island Nectars Roctane. The tropical flavor made its debut as a limited release for the 2010 Ironman World Championships. Thanks to popular demand this year the flavor is back and here to stay. No question it will boost triathletes as they battle it out through Kona’s rough ocean waves and challenging lava-covered terrain. Even if you’re not headed to Kona this October you can have a taste of the island no matter where you are.

With a little more than a month to go before the infamous cannon is fired, the anticipation for Kona is alive. As in years past the world famous championship race will not disappoint. While the GU staff will not have the honor of participating in the Ironman World Championships this year, we’ve been hard at work training for the 2011 Kona Undie Run on Ali’i Drive. This just may be our year!

Contributed by GU Energy Labs.

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