Separate men’s and women’s race days will continue at the 2023 IRONMAN World Championship in Kona, organisers have confirmed.
The announcement comes as part of a double boost for women’s IRONMAN, with more female qualification spots for the event also introduced.
Two race days had already been scheduled for this year’s event in Hawaii, but the latest announcement suggests a precedent has now been set to ensure the men’s and women’s races can receive equal attention in the future.
The 2023 IRONMAN World Championship will take place on October 12 for women and October 14 for men, with this year’s races coming on October 6 and 8.
Messick on Kona plans
Andrew Messick, president and chief executive officer for The IRONMAN Group, said: “We are grateful for our partners in Hawai`i and Kailua-Kona, for their support for over 40 years of this homegrown event that has captured the imagination of the world and turned into the pinnacle event of the sport of triathlon.
“We look forward to an incredible two-day event in 2022, and the ability in 2023 to further advance what a two-day format can look like with a focused women’s race day and a men’s race day.”
Hawai`i County mayor, Mitch Roth said: “The County of Hawai`i and IRONMAN have a long history of working together closely to ensure this global event is conducted safely and with due respect for the needs of the athletes, county residents, and worldwide visitors.
“With the 2022 VinFast IRONMAN World Championship occurring over two days in October, the County of Hawai`i is excited to once again host these champions in Kailua-Kona and Kohala, and looks forward to another epic VinFast IRONMAN World Championship in 2023.
“The partnership with IRONMAN has stood the test of time and we are grateful and humbled that the culture here has fed into the culture of IRONMAN, reflecting the aloha spirit and the theme of Holomua — to move forward — for the 2023 IRONMAN season.”
Kona qualifying for women
Having separate race days means that organisers have increased the number of women’s qualifying events to 17 globally, with these designated as Women For Tri events.
These qualifying events will take place in USA, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Germany, France, UK, Spain, Sweden, Ireland, Canada and Denmark.
They will create more than 1,200 additional qualifying opportunities for the world championships, with age-group athletes the key beneficiaries.
IRONMAN Hall of Famer Julie Moss said: “I’m thrilled by the news that the VinFast IRONMAN World Championship will hold a dedicated women’s race for the first time in 2023.
“Women have a long history of stealing the spotlight in Kona! A separate day of racing guarantees the professional and age-group women their time to shine.
“These amazing athletes deserve the opportunity to showcase their talents, separate and apart from the men. This is truly a cause for celebration.”
Messick added: “Creating a two-day race has been transformative for our IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship, allowing for deeper and larger fields with men and women racing on different days, and ultimately providing benefit to all with cleaner races and focused coverage and attention on each race.
“We are excited to now implement these principles into the IRONMAN World Championship with two days of racing in Hawai`i.”