Ironman Vs the IronDistance

Its not about the ‘DOT’, its about the distance !!

Those in the sport of triathlon, very well know that Ironman is just a brand name. And those who do not might get an idea after reading this post.

I will share with you what I have learnt during my journey, about Ironman branding and the triathlon sport distances.

The sport of Triathlon comprises of three disciplines – Swim, Bike, and Run. And the sport is of varied distance level:

  • Sprint Distance – smallest in distance. (0.47-mile) 750m swim, 12-miles (20 km) bike, 1-mile (5 km) run
  • Olympic Distance(0.93-mile)1.5-km swim, 25-miles (40 km) bike, 2-mile (10 km) run
  • Long Distance OR 70.3 OR also made popular as ‘half-Ironman’ [swim of 2miles (1.9 km), a bike ride of 56 miles (90 km), and a marathon run of 13.1 miles (21 km)]
  • Ultra Distance OR 140.6 OR also made popular as ‘Ironman’ [swim of 4 miles (3.9 km), a bike ride of 112 miles (180 km), and a marathon run of 26.219 miles (42.195 km)]
  • Ultra Triathlon – For distances longer than 140.6 miles. And only a handful of people across the globe have done them.

Now there is a governing body (International Triathlon Union) for the sport of triathlon, which decides the various rules and stuff.

There are various companies, who organize all sort of triathlon distance races across the globe.

Going over few of them –

  • Ironman ( Owned by WTC, the World Triathlon Corporation (WTC) is a for-profit corporation, that organizes, promotes and licenses the Ironman Triathlon, Ironman 70.3, and the 5150 series of triathlon. The M-dot logo is owned by this company. And that is what you might find tattooed on the calves or the legs of some people.

Their most famous race – Ironman Hawaii, World Championship. Note- this is their own championship race.

  • Challenge (, a rival to the Ironman brand, did not wish to have WTC running the Challenge family of races. The Challenge Family series of triathlons organizes a 4,000-person Iron-distance race in Roth, Germany. Challenge Family has entered the U.S. market this year.

Their most famous race is the Challenge Roth.

  • Norseman Xtri ( – ‘Getting back to the roots of Ironman’. They offer the same 140.6 miles of racing, but their terrain is way harder than any of the Ironman or Challenge races. It is considered the ultimate triathlon on the planet.
  • Wildflower Weekend festival – Quite a famous race festival with Sprint/Olympic/Long course distance races. Lot of pro’s race this triathlon on a hot day.
  • Vineman – Offers triathlon and Aquabike and relay events.
  • Rev3Triathlon – US based company, has most of their events on the east coast.
  • LifeTime Athletic events
  • USAProductions – Generally organizes sprints and Olympic distance races.

And then there are few other companies locally around the globe who organize the sport.

So even if you do a triathlon race organized by the HITS triathlon group, and you did a 140.6 miles, you can still call yourself an IRONMAN.

Its easier saying ‘I am training for an Ironman’ OR ‘I did an Ironman’ than explaining all of the above. If they have time, interest and a little knowledge about triathlons, then you can talk to them about the branding and stuff.

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