If the date of the next IRONMAN World Championship has felt like a game of pin the tail on the donkey over the past 18 months due to ongoing COVID-related cancellations, well, the donkey has moved again.
This time however, he’s kicked down the stable door, is running off into the distance heading towards St. George, Utah, in the biggest shake-up of long distance triathlon’s biggest event since, well, ever.
St George gets the gig for May 2022
There is much to digest in the latest media release from IRONMAN, but here are the key top-line points.
- The (rescheduled) 2021 IRONMAN World Championship, which was set to take place in Hawaii on February 5, 2022 (only announced last month), has been cancelled.
- A (delayed) 2021 edition of the IRONMAN World Championship will take place in 2022, but NOT in Kona – the new date being 7 May 2022, back in St. George, Utah, the site of last weekend’s IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship
- The 2022 IRONMAN World Championship WILL take place in Kona, in October as planned / traditional, however…
- … the Hawaii event will be held over two separate days, Thursday 6th October (Pro Women) and Saturday 8th October (Pro Men), with the day(s) and how the age-group races will be handled/allocated to be confirmed over the coming weeks.
There will certainly be much more to digest, knock-on impacts, speculation and more about these changes and we’ll certainly be giving those plenty of thought.
“The honor to host the first IRONMAN World Championship outside of Hawai`i is as humbling as it is thrilling. There are few events that hold the prestige and respect of the IRONMAN World Championship in Kona,” said Kevin Lewis, Director of the Greater Zion Convention & Tourism Office.
“I think we understand the weight and responsibility we now have to carry forward the cherished significance of the IRONMAN World Championship and we don’t take that responsibility lightly. We have the deepest respect for the IRONMAN World Championship’s legacy in Hawai`i and all that has gone on before – the passion, the dreams, the gut-wrenching persistence, and the human spirit of caring for one another as we push forward to be the best version of ourselves. Hosting the IRONMAN World Championship here gives us the opportunity to truly honor that legacy with our own brand of enduring success, and once again I’m certain we will rise to it.”
“We are fortunate to have built such a strong and trusted relationship with our friends in the greater St. George region over the past 10-plus years,” said Andrew Messick, President & Chief Executive Officer for The IRONMAN Group. “St. George stepped up to ensure IRONMAN athletes will have a 2021 world championship, even if delayed into 2022. We all just witnessed why this special place has been dubbed the ‘Land of Endurance’ and we are confident that we will have an outstanding championship in May.”
“Hosting the IRONMAN World Championship is yet another example of the Utah Sports Commission’s sport and Olympic legacy efforts that showcase globally why Utah is known as the State of Sport,” said Utah Sports Commission President and CEO, Jeff Robbins. “Together with our partners, we look forward to welcoming the world to Utah.”
“Events like the IRONMAN World Championship that attract athletes from every corner of the world are great examples of our state’s high level of engagement in global sport,” said Utah Governor, Spencer Cox. “The significant economic impact and the media value will be of great benefit to St. George, Washington County and the entire state.”
Kona over two days in October 22
For the first time in the 40-plus year history of the IRONMAN World Championship, the pinnacle event for triathlon will take place over two days with the 2022 IRONMAN World Championship returning to Kona, Hawai`i on October 6 and 8, 2022. The two-day event will see an expanded women’s professional field of 50 athletes race on Thursday, October 6, and 50 professional men race on Saturday, October 8. Details of the age-group races will be released in the coming weeks.
“We expect the races in October of 2022 to be unique and historic,” said Messick. “Two days of racing in Kailua-Kona addresses the overwhelming demand from athletes to race in a World Championship and will allow us to host our deferred athletes and place more emphasis on showcasing our women’s and men’s professional races.”
IRONMAN athletes registered for the 2021 and 2022 editions of the IRONMAN World Championship triathlon, along with athletes currently registered for 2022 IRONMAN St. George, will be contacted directly with additional information.