03:50am the alarm sounds for what is a long day ahead of me. The next thing I know I’m treading water in the reservoir waiting for the sound of the horn.
Off we go and all that lies ahead is a 1.2 mile swim, a 56 mile bike ride and a half marathon. Also known as a Half Ironman, Ironman 70.3 (the total number of miles) or often elsewhere referred to as a middle distance triathlon. Now this may sound a long way but we have trained all year for this very day and have paid a lot to be there. We have paid to endure the mental and physical challenge, to embrace the support of spectators and paid to take the risk that we may not even finish at all. This all comes at a hefty price of over £200 but why would we pay so much when there are cheaper middle distance triathlons available?
The answer is...the Ironman brand.
The idea for the original Ironman Triathlon came during an awards ceremony in 1977 where there was a debate between athletes and members on which athletes were more fit; swimmers, runners or cyclists. U.S Navy Commander John Collins suggested that the debate should be settled through a race combining all three disciplines. Then took place the first race in 1979 where 15 competitors took to the start line. Since then the Ironman Triathlon and brand has grown so much that it now attracts thousands of great athletes and even celebrities. I took to the start line in June alongside Gordon and Tana Ramsay, unfortunately they beat me but I tried my best.
There are now many Ironman Triathlon races hosted throughout the world including Mexico, Australia and the brilliant Ironman Wales held annually in Tenby. All races are organised by the World Triathlon Corporation (WTC) and over two dozen of them offer qualification for the annual Ironman World Championships in Hawaii.
The Ironman brand
An Ironman branded race day is always a spectacular occasion. The buzzing atmosphere remains high all day, right until the last athlete finishes where he or she will be crowned an ‘Ironman’.
On race day you will find their distinctive logo (also referred to as the ‘M dot’) plastered everywhere from huge signage, to clothing and even on human skin. I remember once being on holiday and noticing a man walking beside the pool with this ‘M dot’ image covering his lower leg. I now know that he was an ‘Ironman’. I certainly understand why athletes that complete these tough endurance races seek to wear a badge of success. They are an ‘Ironman’ and they have the badge to prove it; a symbol of strength, courage and power.
Upon finishing I didn’t head to a tattoo parlour but I did purchase some Ironman branded clothing and immediately wore them with pride. I was proud of what I had accomplished.
The Ironman logo is a registered trade mark of the World Triathlon Corporation. WTC also have several other registered trade marks including registrations for Ironman, Ironman Triathlon, 70.3 and also Ironkids for their children’s races and clothing.
A trade mark registration allows you to:
- take legal action against anyone who uses your brand without your permission
- display the ® symbol next to your brand, this will warn others against using it
- sell and licence your brand
WTC licence their Ironman trade mark to Timex for their line of Timex Ironman watches.
I hope to complete a full Ironman one day (double the distances mentioned above). I don't think it's a case of civil servant to Ironman World Champion like Chrissie Wellington, but wish me luck.