COVID-19 struck again to derail the elite triathlon calendar on Thursday with the news that IRONMAN New Zealand has been postponed.
The marquee event had been scheduled to take place on Saturday March 5 in Taupō, but with pandemic restrictions still tight in New Zealand officials have made the painful decision to postpone.
It is now hoped the race, won by Braden Currie and Hannah Wells in 2021, will take place in December to co-incide with IRONMAN 70.3 Taupō.
IRONMAN on NZ postponement
IRONMAN announced the postponement in a statement on Thursday, explaining:
“The Nutri-Grain IRONMAN New Zealand team has been working hard behind the scenes to explore every possible option to hold the event as planned on Saturday 5 March.
“Sadly, we have been unable to find a way to deliver the event under the restrictions of the red setting and still guarantee the safety of our athletes, supporters, staff, volunteers and the local community in Taupō.
“We are now in the disappointing position where we can confirm that Nutri-Grain IRONMAN New Zealand will not be taking place on 5 March.
“We understand just how frustrating this news will be for all athletes. An immense amount of time, energy and sacrifice goes into preparing for an IRONMAN, and to have the opportunity to complete your journey taken away this close to event day is a real kick in the guts. We are so sorry, and we feel just as frustrated and disappointed as you.
“With no clear indication on when we might move to the orange setting, and with winter approaching, our best option is for the 2022 Nutri-Grain IRONMAN New Zealand to integrate with IRONMAN 70.3 Taupō event on Saturday 10 December 2022.
“This will make for a very exciting and unique race weekend to finish the year. “
Kia Kaha, The Nutri-Grain IRONMAN New Zealand team
New Zealand currently has some of the strictest pandemic restrictions in the world as it continues to pursue a zero-COVID policy.
The postponement of IRONMAN New Zealand follows on swiftly from the cancellation of Challenge Wanaka, which had been due to take place on Saturday February 19. That race will now take place virtually.