Ironman triathlete Tyler Butterfield. *Photo by Nils Nilson
Ironman triathlete Tyler Butterfield. *Photo by Nils Nilson

I am walking down the promenade last week in Pescara, Italy, towards the Ironman Italy 70.3 race centre when I see a family. Dad, the triathlete, had an Ironman Lanzarote 70.3 race backpack (a previous race he competed in)whilst mum had an Ironman Wife Support Crew T-shirt on and various other family members had Ironman Support Crew T-Shirts and get this, the baby in the pram had an Iron Baby T-Shirt and Iron Baby woolen hat.

It got me thinking about just what a worldwide lifestyle phenomenon the Ironman.com brand has become. 

Every weekend year round there are Ironman or Ironman 70.3 races worldwide, often as many as five on a weekend, and entries for most of these races are closed months in advance. 

The number of races just keep-growing and growing. 

Just last month Ironman.com bought up the four races in British Columbia, Canada, known as the Subaru Series and immediately rebranded them as Ironman 70.3 races. 

This series was already popular but after the rebranding there was a surge in entries.

The organization of each race is very slick and follows a strict formula. 

For example, athletes receive different-coloured drawstring bags into which they put their clothing, etc, for each segment of the race and hang them on designated hooks in the transition area. 

At the Ironman.com website you can go to any race in progress and track an athlete.  

In Pescara, I sat in a café by transition and as soon as my wife passed through timing chip points on the swim, bike and run I knew her time for that segment, her overall elapsed time, her speed, her age group position, her position by gender and her overall position !

And the Ironman bug has certainly caught on with Bermuda’s triathletes. 

This weekend, for example, Gary Taylor, Mark Wilcox,Jonnie Betts, Chris Gallagher, Sharon Alikhani and Nancy Swartz will be in Maryland, competing in the Eagleman Ironman 70.3 , a race that sold out months ago. 

But, in usual slick fashion, the website suggests that you might want to consider Ironman 70.3 Boise, Kansas or Victoria, all of which are on this weekend.

And at home, this Sunday  the Tokio Millenium Triathlon, one of the most popular races of the year, takes place in Hamilton with a chance once again to watch Ironman triathlete and Tokio Millennium-sponsored Tyler Butterfield race. Good luck to all.