One of the original Ironman finishers, Dave Orlowski, has died. The American finished third in the first Ironman event held in Honolulu, Hawaii on Feb. 18, 1978.
Orlowski had been battling cancer for a number of years.
His death was reported yesterday on German triathlon site tri-mag.de.
Orlowski was stationed in Honolulu at the Marine base and was at the infamous awards ceremony where the debate on who was the fittest athlete, a cyclist, runner or swimmer would result in the beginning of long-distance triathlon races. It was decided to put together the Oahu Rough Water Swim, the Around Oahu Bike Race and the Honolulu Marathon, which was organized by John and Judy Collins and called “The Hawaiian Ironman Triathlon.”
Wearing cutoff jeans on the bike, Orlowski ran his way to third place overall in a time of 13:59:13. Since then he’s been a regular at Ironman events around the world. In 2008 he returned to Honolulu to complete the original course to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the original Ironman. Two years ago he was back again to take on the course again to celebrate the 40th.