The typical Iron Person Race consists of 4 legs – swim, run, board with a final run to the finish line. The order for each water leg is determined at the start of every carnival by the Referee. The distances for each leg can vary depending upon conditions.
For the swim leg the competitors are required to swim around the ‘string line’, a line of 9 coloured buoys.
Probably the most technically demanding on the legs because the athlete is required to swim under waves whilst swimming out to sea and then body surfing them on the way back in.
An iron person must be proficient in swimming.
The first run is the second leg of the Iron Person. It starts as the athlete comes out of the water up the beach and around two flags, and then on to the next water event.
The board leg involves paddling around a set of four black and white string lines.
Going out through the surf can be difficult, as athletes must use their weight to ‘pop’ over each wave.
The way in is simpler as the athlete must paddle and catch waves, without nose diving, into shore.
Run to the finish:
The fourth leg is a relatively short and easier. The run leg involves running from the edge of the surf, around two flags set on the beach, and back out into the surf (if board is next collecting your board before entering the surf). The surface can change very quickly from wet to hard to soft and back again, so the Iron Person must change their running technique regularly.
This event is a real test of an athletes endurance and fitness levels. Being interesting and exciting it often attracts the most attention with spectators on the beach.