IM Founder Judy Collins recalls her first memories of triathlon in Panama
John and I sailed out of San Diego Bay, from Coronado, California, in 1992. We were headed to Scotland via the Panama Canal.
Our journey was on our cutter sailboat, a Tayana '37. We had named the yacht "Primo" in honor of the local beer sponsor of many of the popular running events held in Hawaii in the 1970's. In 1974, in San Diego, our family was in the first triathlon in the U.S. We moved to Hawaii in 1975 from California. Triathlon had not then reached Hawaii. Our running and swimming in Hawaii led to our creation of The Hawaiian Iron Man Triathlon in 1978, in Honolulu, on the island of Oahu. In 1981 the Ironman moved to Kona, on the island of Hawaii. By 1992 we were sailing south and east from the west coast of the U. S. Our running and swim training was fading into the past.
We arrived at the Panama Canal on a Friday in October 1993. We went through the canal on Tuesday with a plan to continue on to Scotland by Thursday. "Primo" and the two of us are still here in Panama, 18 years later. We became permanent residents in 1994. We sailed to the San Blas, to Cartagena, to Florida and the Bahamas in the next few years. Our home base then was the Panama Canal Yacht Club.
I have vivid memories of three days when I fell in love with Panama and with the idea that triathlon and Panama were made for each other.