Ironman Hawaii: Kampf gegen die Hitze – Das heißeste Triathlon-Parkett der Welt?

Unbearable heat - every year athletes moan about the unforgiving conditions on the Queen K. Then, just as the going gets really tough, it gets really hot too. Undisputedly one of the most decisive factors in the race. But is the Ironman Hawaii actually the hottest stage in the triathlon circus? We unpacked the thermometer...

After August and September with an average temperature of 24.9 °C, October is one of the warmest months of the year on the island in the Pacific Ocean with a monthly average of 24.5 °C. In October, an average of 75 millimeters of rain falls over the month - compared to February, the driest month, with 55 millimeters. With a monthly average of 34.5 °C, October 1986 was the hottest ever recorded.

So there is no question that the heat is one of the decisive factors in the race.

Hot hotter hottest?

But there are other races for friends of the high temperatures. The Ironman Langkawi, for example. Since last year, the race has always started in November – a rather cool month on the Malaysian island with an average of 31 °C. It gets similarly hot in November on the island of Phuket. When the traditional Laguna Phuket Triathlon starts, you can expect temperatures around 30°C.

And even if you don't have to travel long distances, it can sometimes get really hot: This is what happened at this year's record race in Frankfurt, where temperatures of up to 35 °C were recorded. Or the Challenge Roth last year, which brought around 33°C on the thermometer.

Hawaii - more than just hot air

At first glance, the King of Kona does not seem to be the King of Heat. On second, slightly closer look, however, it becomes clear why Kona is the furnace of the triathlon world. Because several factors ensure that the perceived heat is much more than "just" what is measured.

no shadow

A short stretch through the forest, or a kilometer in the shade of houses - that can be so pleasant when it's hot. Because there you can escape the direct sunlight and the long-wave rays that carry the warmth of the sunlight, at least for a short time.

On the course of the Ironman Hawaii, however, you will look in vain for a shady spot. No tree, no bush - merciless sun all day long.

The heat index

In winter, the wind chill lets you cool down faster than you would like. This theoretical factor refers to the temperature felt when the icy wind blows in your face - and it can be significantly lower than the actually measured temperature.

A similar factor also exists in hot weather. The "heat index" also describes the perceived temperature. In warm and hot weather, however, it is above all the humidity that influences the temperature perception. From a temperature range above 26 °C (depending on the calculation model), this heat index comes into play. Environments with high humidity are then perceived as hotter than environments with dry air.

The reason: The body's own air conditioning system is called sweat. When sweat evaporates from the surface of the skin, energy is consumed, which leads to cooling. However, the higher the humidity of the ambient air, the less or slower the sweat from our skin can be released there. This slows down the natural cooling of our body and, in the worst case, even stops it.

So let's say it's 28 °C on race day, with a humidity of 75% - and we already have a perceived temperature of 31.4 °C.

Heat from above, heat from below

Another factor that increases the perceived temperature is the black lava asphalt found throughout the island of volcanic origin. Just like the black lava rock that dominates the landscape, especially around Kona. They "reflect" the heat of the sun, so that you often have the feeling of melting away on the hot Queen K, especially on the running course.


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