IRONMAN World Championship 2023: Pro qualifiers for Kona

The IRONMAN World Championship at Kona is the event every elite athlete wants to win, but first they have to make sure they are among the qualifiers.

Typically held in Kailua-Kona, on the west coast of Hawaii Island (‘The Big Island’), the race brings together the very best long-distance triathletes on the planet to compete for the coveted title.

The inaugural event back in 1978 was the brainchild of US Navy Commander John Collins and his wife Judy, with 15 competitors taking on the gruelling course. The first races were held on Oahu, before the move to the Big Island in 1981.

US Navy Communications Specialist Gordon Haller was crowned as the first-ever IRONMAN Champion, finishing in 11:46:58.

The COVID pandemic meant the absence of the Kona race in both 2020 and 2021, while the 2022 season saw the unusual situation of two IRONMAN World Champions crowned.

The postponed October 2021 edition took place in St George, Utah on May 7 2022 with Daniela Ryf and Kristian Blummenfelt taking the ‘2021’ Pro titles.

After three years, racing returned to Hawaii – over two separate race days – on October 6 and October 8 2022, with brilliant races won by Chelsea Sodaro and Gustav Iden.

chelsea-sodaro-kona-2022-run-finish
(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images for IRONMAN)

The 2022 Pro Men’s race saw four men inside the previous course record (7:51:13) time set by three-time champion, Jan Frodeno, in 2019. That title now resides with Iden, who stopped the clock (including a 2:36:15 marathon), at 7:40:24.

gustav-iden-kona-2022-run-finish
(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images for IRONMAN)

In 2018, five-time IRONMAN World Champion, Daniela Ryf clocked a Kona course record for the women’s race, finishing in 8:26:18.

Upcoming Qualifying events

While the 2022 racing season is slowing down as we approach the end of the calendar year, there are a still some Pro qualification opportunities for athletes to get the ‘KQ’ done and dusted before taking a break and rebuilding for 2023. Here are those events, along with the slots on offer:

  • 25th November – IRONMAN Israel Middle East Championship (3 MPRO / 3 WPRO)
  • 4th December – IRONMAN Western Australia (2 MPRO / 2 WPRO)

Kona 2023 qualifiers

Below is the current list of names who have qualified for the 2023 IRONMAN World Championship. Previous IRONMAN World Champions receive a five year qualification exemption, and podium finishers (2nd / 3rd) from the 2022 race also qualify (2022 Podium Exemption) – however, this is subject to completing a Validation Race:

“Validation Race” means racing competitively (as determined by IRONMAN and IRONMAN’s sole discretion) and finishing at least one (1) Qualifying IRONMAN (excluding the 2022 IRONMAN World Championship) OR (1) IRONMAN 70.3 (excluding the 2022 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship) event that has a Pro wave during the 2023 IRONMAN Qualifying Year. (period between August 22, 2022 and August 28, 2023).

In addition to the above, winners of the 2022 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship will also receive an invitation/exemption – again, subject to the completion of a Validation Race.

PRO MEN

  • Kristian Blummenfelt (NOR) – subject to completing validation race
  • Jan Frodeno (GER) – subject to completing validation race
  • Gustav Iden (NOR) – subject to completing validation race
  • Patrick Lange (GER) – subject to completing validation race
  • Sam Laidlow (FRA) – subject to completing validation race
  • Magnus Ditlev (DEN)
  • Matt Hanson (USA)
  • Ben Kanute (USA)
  • Brent McMahon (CAN)
  • Joe Skipper (GBR)
  • Jan Van Berkel (SUI)
iden-laidlow-blummenfelt-kona-2022-podium-2
(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images for IRONMAN)

PRO WOMEN

  • Lucy Charles-Barclay (GBR) – subject to completing validation race
  • Anne Haug (GER) – subject to completing validation race
  • Taylor Knibb (USA) – subject to completing validation race
  • Daniela Ryf (SUI) – subject to completing validation race
  • Chelsea Sodaro (USA) – subject to completing validation race
  • Gurutze Frades Larralde (ESP)
  • Chloe Lane (AUS)
  • Skye Moench (USA)
  • Lisa Norden (SWE)
  • Svenja Thoes (GER)
  • Sarah True (USA)
KAILUA KONA, HAWAII - OCTOBER 06: Lucy Charles-Barclay of Great Britain (2nd), Chelsea Sodaro (1st) and Anne Haug of Germany (3rd) celebrate after finishing the Ironman World Championships on October 06, 2022 in Kailua Kona, Hawaii. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images for IRONMAN)
Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images for IRONMAN

When is IRONMAN Kona 2023?

The IRONMAN World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii will take place over two days in 2023. As announced in July 2022, the Pro women will race on Thursday October 12 and the Pro men on Saturday October 14.

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