As part of Ironman's ongoing race development and improvements a new flexible order rule has been announced for all Ironman branded events effective immediately. Hot on the heels of the rolling start initiative, which allows athletes to start whenever they like, competitors will now be able to choose the order they complete the three sports that compose a triathlon.
The idea grew from concerns, first voiced on social media, that the marathon is always held during the hottest part of the day. Many, including the fast growing millennial demographic, felt that was a bit too hard. After effectively killing head-to-head competition with the rolling start, it was a natural next step for organizers to allow competitors to choose for themselves what order they complete the swim, bike and run.
"Just because some mustachioed hippie in the late 70s thought it should be swim, then bike, then run, doesn't mean it has to always be that way", explained Ironman CEO Andrew Hawtmessick. "Many of our customers prefer to finish with a cooling swim and get the marathon out of the way early. We're responding to a need."
The new flexible order rule did cause some consternation among the coaching fraternity. "All the coaching courses we take keep harping on the challenge of running off the bike," complained Dutch national coach, Faarten Mearings. "If our athletes choose not to do the run after the bike, what are we supposed to do with the "brick" workout?"
According to Ironman, however, the athlete response has been positive overall. Most of the questions received to their offices since the announcement are on whether or not the new rules will effect plans to get Iroman tattoos or stick 140.6 stickers to their cars.