More than 1,000 in Hermosa Beach kick off Fourth of July with 50th annual Ironman contest

California

The morning haze made the red, white and blue of swimsuits pop as people made their way to the beach to prepare to celebrate Independence Day in the South Bay.

More than a thousand people participated in this year’s Hermosa Beach Ironman on Tuesday, July 4 — and many more filled the beach to cheer them on.

During the event, competitors ran a mile, paddled a mile and attempted to chug a six-pack of beer.

  • Competitors waiting for the start of the 50th annual Hermosa...

    Competitors waiting for the start of the 50th annual Hermosa Beach Ironman on Tuesday, July 4, 2023.(Photo by Christina Merino, Daily Breeze/SCNG)

  • Former Hermosa Beach Mayor Robert “Burgie” Benz hypes up the...

    Former Hermosa Beach Mayor Robert “Burgie” Benz hypes up the crowd over a thousand participants in the 50th annual Hermosa Beach Ironman on Tuesday, July 4. 2023. (Photo by Christina Merino, Daily Breeze/SCNG)

  • Participants of the Hermosa Beach Ironman write their race number...

    Participants of the Hermosa Beach Ironman write their race number on their arms and other phrases on their backs. (Photo by Christina Merino, Daily Breeze/SCNG)

  • Competitors take off running at the start of the 50th...

    Competitors take off running at the start of the 50th annual Hermosa Beach Ironman on Tuesday, July 4, 2023. (Photo by Christina Merino, Daily Breeze/SCNG)

  • Nate Nolan and Kate Jones, from Hermosa Beach, participating in...

    Nate Nolan and Kate Jones, from Hermosa Beach, participating in the 2023 Hermosa Beach Ironman on Tuesday, July 4. (Photo by Christina Merino, Daily Breeze/SCNG)

  • As part of the Hermosa Beach Ironman event, competitors run...

    As part of the Hermosa Beach Ironman event, competitors run a mile, paddle a mile and then chug a six-pack of beer to celebrate Independence Day, this year on Tuesday, July 4, 2023. (Photo by Christina Merino, Daily Breeze/SCNG)

  • Competitors take off running at the start of the 50th...

    Competitors take off running at the start of the 50th annual Hermosa Beach Ironman on Tuesday, July 4, 2023. (Photo by Christina Merino, Daily Breeze/SCNG)

  • A crowd of spectators cheering on the participants of the...

    A crowd of spectators cheering on the participants of the 50th annual Hermosa Beach Ironman on Tuesday, July 4, 2023. (Photo by Christina Merino, Daily Breeze/SCNG)

  • As part of the Hermosa Beach Ironman event, competitors run...

    As part of the Hermosa Beach Ironman event, competitors run a mile, paddle a mile and then chug a six-pack of beer to celebrate Independence Day, this year on Tuesday, July 4, 2023. (Photo by Christina Merino, Daily Breeze/SCNG)

  • A couple chugging beers at the 50th annual Hermosa Beach...

    A couple chugging beers at the 50th annual Hermosa Beach Ironman on Tuesday, July 4, 2023. (Photo by Christina Merino, Daily Breeze/SCNG)

  • As part of the Hermosa Beach Ironman event, competitors run...

    As part of the Hermosa Beach Ironman event, competitors run a mile, paddle a mile and then chug a six-pack of beer to celebrate Independence Day, this year on Tuesday, July 4, 2023. (Photo by Christina Merino, Daily Breeze/SCNG)

  • Tony Kazalok was one of the winners of the 50th...

    Tony Kazalok was one of the winners of the 50th annual Hermosa Beach Ironman on Tuesday, July 4, 2023. (Photo by Christina Merino, Daily Breeze/SCNG)

  • Annie Seawright (right) chugging a beer at the 50th annual...

    Annie Seawright (right) chugging a beer at the 50th annual Hermosa Beach Ironman on Tuesday, July 4, 2023. (Photo by Christina Merino, Daily Breeze/SCNG)

  • As part of the Hermosa Beach Ironman event, competitors run...

    As part of the Hermosa Beach Ironman event, competitors run a mile, paddle a mile and then chug a six-pack of beer to celebrate Independence Day, this year on Tuesday, July 4, 2023. (Photo by Christina Merino, Daily Breeze/SCNG)

  • Competitors take off running at the start of the 50th...

    Competitors take off running at the start of the 50th annual Hermosa Beach Ironman on Tuesday, July 4, 2023. (Photo by Christina Merino, Daily Breeze/SCNG)

  • As part of the Hermosa Beach Ironman event, competitors run...

    As part of the Hermosa Beach Ironman event, competitors run a mile, paddle a mile and then chug a six-pack of beer to celebrate Independence Day, this year on Tuesday, July 4, 2023. (Photo by Christina Merino, Daily Breeze/SCNG)

  • Annie Seawright won her 17th Hermosa Beach Ironman on Tuesday,...

    Annie Seawright won her 17th Hermosa Beach Ironman on Tuesday, July 4, 2023. (Photo by Christina Merino, Daily Breeze/SCNG)

  • A crowd of spectators cheering on the participants of the...

    A crowd of spectators cheering on the participants of the 50th annual Hermosa Beach Ironman on Tuesday, July 4, 2023. (Photo by Christina Merino, Daily Breeze/SCNG)

  • As part of the Hermosa Beach Ironman event, competitors run...

    As part of the Hermosa Beach Ironman event, competitors run a mile, paddle a mile and then chug a six-pack of beer to celebrate Independence Day, this year on Tuesday, July 4, 2023. (Photo by Christina Merino, Daily Breeze/SCNG)

  • Rock band pumping up the crowd of hundreds at the...

    Rock band pumping up the crowd of hundreds at the 50th annual Hermosa Beach Ironman on Tuesday, July 4, 2023. (Photo by Christina Merino, Daily Breeze/SCNG)

  • As part of the Hermosa Beach Ironman event, competitors run...

    As part of the Hermosa Beach Ironman event, competitors run a mile, paddle a mile and then chug a six-pack of beer to celebrate Independence Day, this year on Tuesday, July 4, 2023. (Photo by Christina Merino, Daily Breeze/SCNG)

  • Annie Seawright and Tony Kazalok, winners of the 50th annual...

    Annie Seawright and Tony Kazalok, winners of the 50th annual Hermosa Beach Ironman on Tuesday, July 4, 2023. (Photo by Christina Merino, Daily Breeze/SCNG)

Competitors who participated in the past knew what they were getting themselves into. For others, like Kate Jones, it was their first year dipping into the tradition.

Jones, from Hermosa Beach, said as a first-timer, she was not expecting to go as fast as everyone else. But, she said, she definitely knew chugging beer, for her, wouldn’t be the hard part.

“I’m fine with that,” she said. “It’s just the paddling. I’m not ready for it to be so cold in the water.”

At the end of the National Anthem, competitors took off in a flash to run a mile down the beach. Then, fast as they could, they trudged back up the sand to their boards and down into the surf to paddle another mile.

Finally, dripping salt water, each competitor then circled up at the start to complete the final leg of the competition — cracking open a six-pack and attempting to down all half-dozen brews.

Not a surprise to many, Annie Seawright came in first place in the women’s division, making her a 17-time Ironman winner. Seawright was surrounded by co-competitors and onlookers who egged her on and then cheered her victory.

In the men’s division, Tony Kostelak took home the bragging rights. Kostelak has been competing since 2003, he said, and has come in second place many times. It was his first time winning, he said.

According to organizer Shelby Benz, the Ironman took in about $46,000 that will be donated to local charities.

Benz, who was thrilled to have the 50th Ironman on the books, said the organizing team poured their hearts and souls into making it an event to remember.

“Under the veneer of debauchery is an event about heart and about community,” Benz said. “What can be better than that?”

As the Hermosa Beach Ironman concluded its 50th running, people stayed at the beach rocking out to music from Jim Lindberg and his iconic punk band Pennywise, running into a mosh pit — and of course — getting a jump on celebrating freedom and Independence Day.

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