The History of Ironman Lanzarote

In 1992, the volcanic island of Lanzarote, part of the Canary Islands, witnessed a groundbreaking event: the birth of the Ironman Lanzarote. The visionary behind this triathlon was Kenneth Gasque, a Dane who had a singular mission: to create a race that would challenge athletes while showcasing the island’s rugged beauty.

Here’s how it all unfolded:

Inspiration Strikes:
Kenneth Gasque, working as the sporting director at Club La Santa in Lanzarote, encountered a fellow wearing an “Ironman Hawaii” T-shirt. When he asked where to buy one, the response was simple: “You can’t buy it; you have to earn it.”
Determined, Gasque set his sights on earning a world championship berth himself.

Gasque became the first Dane (and the first resident of Spain) to compete in the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii. As he compared Lanzarote’s rugged, volcanic landscape to Kona’s, an idea sparked: Why not host a triathlon here?

Despite rejection letters from the Ironman organization, Gasque persisted.
On May 30, 1992, during the national Day of the Canary Islands, 148 athletes dove into the Atlantic Ocean for the inaugural Ironman Lanzarote. Gasque designed the course based on his own training routes, including a unique one-lap bike course with 2,389 meters of elevation gain.

Gasque’s goal wasn’t to create an impossibly difficult race. Instead, he aimed for an event where participants would have a fantastic experience and feel proud to finish.
At the start, Gasque wished everyone good luck, and at the finish, he personally shook hands with each participant—a tradition he learned from his shopkeeper father in Denmark. Since then, Ironman Lanzarote has become one of Europe’s oldest and most renowned triathlons. Its punishing winds, tough terrain, and brutally hot weather make it a true test of endurance.

As the official swim partner, deboer plays a crucial role. Their commitment to performance and innovation aligns perfectly with the spirit of Ironman Lanzarote.