It’s 35 years, as I write this line,
Since Judy Collins and her husband, John,
Co-founded–both, together; she and he–
Hawai’i's first long-distance triathlon.
On 18 February, 18 men
Swam out through winter waves off Waikiki.
Judy wasn’t with them because she,
Though trained and ready, opted to decline
Participation that year, which was fine:
It’s hard to run a race you’re putting on,
And she and John were partners. Next year, when
They swapped, John would direct and she’d dive in.
A sidebar: Let’s be absolutely clear–
It’s not my goal to profit through misuse
Of copyrights or trademarks registered
Officially. I don’t play fast and loose
With prey that legal eagles feast upon,
So if it seems I have, here’s my excuse:
Before the name first landed on the ear
In corporate contexts, this event was here.
When marketers had yet to pen a word
Promoting what was simply too absurd
To contemplate, this name was settled on:
Hawaiian Iron Man Triathlon.
A long day’s exercise with friends, for fun:
That’s what John and Judy had begun.
You’ve likely learned the legends, now, by heart:
Of 18 hardy souls who made the start,
Just 15 finished all three disciplines.
A 2.4-mile ocean swim begins
The day; one hundred twelve by bicycle
Around O’ahu follow that. A full
Athletic schedule, right? No, that’s too dull.
Let’s run a marathon, and then we’re done!
Most races, people only note who wins;
In Iron Man, you win by taking part.