The potential demise of Napster may impose a hurdle to downloading Black Sabbath's heavy-metal classic Iron Man. However, there will be no problem logging onto this Saturday's 22nd Annual Hawaii Ironman Triathlon, that heavy pedal-swim-run classic that will be webcast live on ironmanlive.com. "We are the only media outlet," says spokesperson Priscilla Fraiegari, "that will provide live video coverage of the race." (Viewers will need RealPlayer and a 28K modem or better.)
Like the Ironman, the webcast, hosted by Honolulu NBC affiliate anchor Dan Cooke and former Ironman champions Karen Smyers and Greg Welch, will unfold in three stages. Part 1, featuring reports on the 2.4-mile swimming leg, will begin at 1 p.m. ET and last approximately an hour. At 5 p.m. the trio will return for an hour and describe the 112-mile bike ride. At 9 p.m. Cooke and Co. will commence coverage of the marathon's finish in Kona. Ironmanlive.com also will provide race-long audio reports. Finally, each of the 1,500 or so entrants will wear a computer tracking chip. Eight checkpoints along the 140.6-mile course will monitor their progress, and that data will be posted on the site.
"We did a webcast last year," Fraiegari says, "but we had so many users trying to get on the server"—80,000 to 100,000—"that the site crashed." Thus, the site has increased its server capacity threefold in hopes of accommodating this year's expected 100,000-plus Ironman cyberwatchers.