IRONMAN World Championship
By Kristen McFarland
October 15, 2006 (Kailua-Kona, HI) – Boy, what a way to start race week! This morning just after 7:00 hotels started shaking and folks started to empty out onto the sidewalks. Lava rock walls crumbled and aging hotels began to crack. This writer was actually knocked off her bike riding down Alii Drive wondering what the heck was happening as the road in front of her started moving like water.
The initial worry was that a tsunami would be triggered, but the island has a sophisticated warning system and word of the “all clear” quickly spread. Power is still out in Kailua Town; but it has returned to the Keauhou Bay area.
At the Royal Kona Hotel, water pipes burst and guests were stuck in elevators. At this time no one is being allowed back in until the structural integrity of the building is checked. Many athletes were swimming at the time and — oblivious to the chaos on land — came out of the water to find that they were not going to be allowed to get their clothing, car keys or anything out of their rooms. There are rumors that the volcano, Mauna Kea, has suffered a collapse; but that is unconfirmed at this time.
Initial reports are saying that the epicenter was about ten miles north of Kailua Town and registered at 6.5, with aftershocks ranging up to 5.8.