Back to the Big Island


This weekend (Fri-Sun) is the Ultraman World Championship on the Big Island. It’s a three-day “stage” triathlon:

  • Day 1: 10K swim from Kailua-Kona to Keauhou followed by 90-mile bike from Keauhou to Volcano (8000 ft of climbing)
  • Day 2: 171-mile bike from Volcano to Hawi around the Hilo side of the island
  • Day 3: 52.4-mile run (double marathon) from Hawi to the old Kona airport

This is the opposite of Ironman. Where Ironman is glitz and hoopla, Ultraman is low key and focused on what the Hawaiians call “ohana” — “family”/”community”. The race is small — 40 competitors vs. 2000 or so in Ironman. Like Ironman, though, it has a long history — the first Ultraman was in 1983, only a couple of years after Ironman moved from Oahu to the Big Island.

I’m not doing the event — I’m part of the support crew for this guy:

Tim Sheeper


Tim really embodies the spirit of Ultraman. As accomplished as Tim is as an athlete, he is very humble and unassuming. But on race day, the warrior comes out. Even at age 50, he is going to surprise some people this year.

I’ll be shooting out photos and live updates on Twitter (@ihersey). Good luck to all of the participants — should be a fun way to spend the Thanksgiving holiday!

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