The inspiration behind my thesis comes from my third grade teacher who completed numerous Ironman races. In third grade, I decided that one day I would complete an Ironman too. Thus, for my thesis I studied the Ironman race series and analyzed the power of the Ironman brand. In addition to researching Ironman, I experienced the essence of Ironman first hand by completing an Ironman 70.3 race. My thesis documents the history of Ironman and how one small race in Hawaii has grown to over 242 races held worldwide. It describes the types of people who complete in Ironman races and the demographics of competitors. Through my research, I concluded that the brand power of Ironman is what makes the race series so strong. I attributed the following five categories to the success of Ironman: Quality Differentiation, Brand Development, Exclusivity, Media Relations, and Partnerships and Products. Additionally, I researched competing triathlon race series and concluded that they just cannot compete with the Ironman brand. Participants even state that they would not propel themselves across 140.6 total miles of water, pavement, and trail if they cannot attach "Ironman" to their name. Therefore, Ironman has a strong hold on the triathlon industry and continues to grow at a rate of 20% each year. In order to fully experience the quality, organization, and inspiration of Ironman, I registered for an Ironman 70.3 race in Oceanside, California. For the past year, I have experienced the struggles and triumphs of athletes training for an Ironman race. I have sacrificed things such as sleep, free time, and a social life in order to fully experience what athletes go through to train for an Ironman event.
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