The future location of the IRONMAN World Championship has been the subject of much debate recently, but don’t tell Jan Frodeno that it needs to move on from being just a Kona thing.
The German still owns the title of reigning champion courtesy of his third victory there in the most recent staging of the event in 2019, and he cannot wait to get back.
The 2020 edition did not happen of course due to COVID, and the much-delayed 2021 event will now go ahead in St George, Utah in May 2022. The return to ‘The Big Island’ meanwhile will – hopefully – be in October 2022.
Many column inches in recent weeks have devoted to whether the event in future should only be at Kona, or whether other locations should also get a piece of the pie. Frodeno though is absolutely steadfast in his belief that it should be Hawaii.
Frodeno on the love of Kona
Talking to Bob Babbitt in a special edition of ‘Breakfast With Bob’ ahead of IRONMAN California, he said: “I read your article in, was it Triathlete magazine? or something – it had me close to tears. I was genuinely like ‘yeah, Kona is the business, don’t take that away from me’.”
Frodeno, who added “We ain’t playing Wimbledon down in Sussex”, is now desperate to get back to Kona next October.
“I’m honestly not a religious man but I’m praying that it goes ahead, October Kona, that would be my dream. If I have one wish left in the sport it would be being in Kona in October and having one more race in peak shape and actually having all the boys there and just having a real rumble in the jungle.”
Frodeno of course has more pressing matters right now – namely that much-hyped showdown with IRONMAN 70.3 World Champion Gustav Iden (and Lionel Sanders) in Sacramento on Sunday.
Frodeno on Iden
The German is excited by the prospect, and has great respect for Iden – explaining: “Gustav is one of those guys, he just seems to do it smart. I look at what he does, it’s a little bit different. I think he’ll be a real tough contender.”
While much talk this week has been about Iden moving up to full distance for the first time, Frodeno believes that narrative is maybe a little bit overplayed.
“If you look at Gustav, I think if you’re very critical, he’s also not strictly speaking, he’s not really the short-distance guy. We always put the Norwegians in one basket and join their success, but you’ve got to look at Kristian – he’s got the phenomenal speed, he races well across every distance up to half and he’s won many races.
“You look at Gustav and he’s up there, but really where he excels and where he shines is that half distance. He just seems to really carry a lot more speed than others and the long mile kind of training really seems to work for him in that regard.
“So we’ll see how it goes on double the distance.”