Sports Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for participants in team and individual sport activities. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Triathlon is the sport (three sports, typically swim - bike - run, though Winterlude in Ottawa does Ice Skate, Cross Country Ski, Run).

Ironman is the distance. 2.4 Mile (4K) swim, 112 mile (180K) bike, and a marathon 26.2 mile run (42.2K).

What is the origin of these distances?

share|improve this question
up vote 12 down vote accepted

The distances were originally copied from three existing races. There was already a 2.4 mile swim race, and a bike race with a similar distance, and of course the marathon. The thought was "what if we did all three?" More here:

share|improve this answer

Hopefully the marathon distance should be obvious: it's a standard distance in athletics, although its actual length (42.2km, 26.2 miles) is irregular. The distance originally varied, in the neighborhood of 24-25 miles, but became standardized after the 1908 London Olympics.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.