A Brief Description of the Evolution of Triathlon

Experienced finance professional R. Scott Bushley earned his MBA in finance at Boston College’s Carroll School of Management. Scott Bushley serves as partner and COO of Granite Point Capital, where he performs fiscal and operational functions. Outside of work, Scott Bushley loves to participate in triathlons. So far, he has done over 25 triathlons and looks forward to doing more in the future.

A triathlon is an endurance sport that combines swimming, biking, and running in one event without a break between the sports. Throughout the world, over 3.5 million people participate in triathlon events each year. Here’s how triathlon has evolved over time.

The first-ever triathlon took place on September 25, 1974, in San Diego. Two avid runners, Dan Shanahan and Jack Johnstone developed the concept of a race that incorporates swimming, biking, and running. The event was known as the Mission Bay Triathlon. The race was held on Fiesta Island near Mission Bay. Forty-six people, each bringing their own bike, suited up for the inaugural event.

The Mission Bay Triathlon had a quite complicated format. The race started with a run, followed by biking, then swimming towards the mainland. Once there, the participants ran barefoot along the seashore before swimming again. The last leg was another run.

The order of the triathlon was fixed to swimming, biking, and running to avoid injuries. Swimming is risky, so the triathletes should start the race while still fresh. Since the risk of exhaustion-related mishaps is higher in biking than in running, it is best to put biking ahead of running.

The world’s most popular triathlon brand is the Iron Man. It was the idea of John and Judy Collins, who participated in the Mission Bay Triathlon. When they moved to Hawaii from San Diego, they developed the concept of an endurance race, later known as Iron Man. The first Hawaiian Iron Man was held on February 18, 1978. Iron Man became the ultimate test for triathletes so that each one who completes the race is called “Iron Man.”