Already postponed until early 2021, IRONMAN has today pulled the plug on hosting a ‘2020’ World Championship in either IRONMAN distance (Kona) or IRONMAN 70.3 (Taupō, New Zealand). There was initially a rescheduled date of 6th February 2021 for the Hawaii event, but along with a hoped for “early 2021” date for Taupō, both have now been removed completely, as the ongoing impacts of the coronavirus pandemic continue.
Here is the full announcement I’ve just received, late on Tuesday evening, UK-time.
2020 EDITIONS OF IRONMAN WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP AND IRONMAN 70.3 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP CANCELLED DUE TO CONTINUED IMPACT OF COVID-19 PANDEMIC
– First IRONMAN World Championship cancellation dating back to 1978
– Events to return in 2021 with IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship taking place in St. George, Utah on Sept. 17 & 18 and IRONMAN World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawai`i on October 9
– IRONMAN working to secure Taupō, New Zealand for the 2022 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship
IRONMAN today announced that, due to the continued impact of the COVID-19 global pandemic, the 2020 editions of the IRONMAN® World Championship and IRONMAN®70.3® World Championship have been cancelled. The IRONMAN World Championship will return to Kailua-Kona, Hawai`i on October 9, 2021 and the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship will return on September 17 and 18, 2021 and take place in St. George, Utah, United States. IRONMAN is working to secure Taupō, New Zealand as the host destination for the 2022 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship.
As the global COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact events around the world, both world championship events have seen a majority of their respective qualifying events postponed or unable to take place in 2020, impeding the ability to qualify athletes for the respective 2020 world championship events. Based on the schedule, the continuation of existing travel restrictions worldwide, and other circumstances beyond our control, IRONMAN’s world championship events cannot proceed as rescheduled.
“It is with a heavy heart that we have made the decision to cancel the 2020 editions of the IRONMAN World Championship and IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship. While we were hopeful that we could welcome our athletes, their families, and supporters to these events in early 2021, the continued impact of the pandemic makes this impossible. It is tough to make this decision in July, but it will provide the necessary clarity for our athletes, host cities and partners,” said Andrew Messick, President & Chief Executive Officer for The IRONMAN Group. “It is disappointing not to be able to provide our racing community with the opportunity to compete in the IRONMAN World Championship for the first time in our 43 year history and our IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship for the first time since inception in 2006. We will endure, however, and look forward to the day when we will again assemble the greatest professional and age-group triathletes in the world and crown world champions.”
Athletes who qualified for the 2020 editions of the IRONMAN World Championship and IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship event will be contacted directly. They will have the opportunity to race in the 2021 or 2022 editions of the respective World Championships.
In June, IRONMAN announced a new IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship qualifying method for athletes. The HOKA ONE ONE IRONMAN® Virtual Racing™ Championship Series is a four-weekend long regulated age-group competition designed to reward top-performing athletes with IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship qualifying slots. Athletes who earned qualifying slots, via that Championship Series, will now receive slots to the 2021 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship taking place in St. George, Utah, United States on Sept. 17 and 18, 2021.
St. George enters an elite group of destinations around the world bestowed with the honor of hosting the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship. The event originated in Clearwater, Florida in 2006 and moved to Henderson, Nevada (2011-13) prior to embarking on a global annual rotation that began with Mont-Tremblant, Quebec, Canada (2014). Each year since, it has reached new locations all over the world, including Zell am See-Kaprun, SalzburgerLand, Austria (2015); Mooloolaba, Queensland, Australia (2016); Chattanooga, Tennessee, United States (2017); and Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa (2018). In 2019, the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship took place in beautiful Nice, France. In 2021 the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship rotates back to North America for the first time since 2017.
The striking Southwestern community of St. George has been a host venue for IRONMAN and IRONMAN 70.3 triathlons since 2010. St. George’s breathtaking scenery and views of the surrounding red rock canyons have made the community an ideal destination for athletes for years. The city’s walkable downtown area features great local fare and boutique shopping. It is also only a two-hour drive from the nightlife of Las Vegas, with its never-ending entertainment options. The course has historically begun in the beautiful Sand Hollow Reservoir before embarking on a bike course through picturesque Snow Canyon State Park prior to a run through the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve. The IRONMAN 70.3 North American Pro Championship St. George also earned accolades in the 2018 IRONMAN Athlete Choice awards, ranking in the Top 10 for two categories – fifth in Best Overall Bike and ninth in Overall Host City Experience. In 2019 IRONMAN 70.3 St. George ranked in top-10 globally in two categories of the IRONMAN Athlete Choice award – ninth for Overall Bike and eighth for Overall Venue Experience.
“Since the inception of rotating the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship to premier destinations around the globe each year, IRONMAN has created an inspirational event unlike any other. We are excited to be part of the prestigious and elite community of world championship host cities, and to represent the world as we welcome the world championship athletes back,” said Kevin Lewis, Director of the Greater Zion Convention & Tourism Office. “Our course showcases some of the most dramatic landscapes of any IRONMAN 70.3 circuit globally. The powerful combination of scenery and terrain is backed up by an energetic community that is exhilarated to host such an iconic event. Athletes who have raced here rave about the experience. Those who haven’t will soon find out why.”
For more information and event details for the IRONMAN World Championship, please visit www.ironman.com/im-world-championship. Further updates on the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship can be found at www.ironman.com/im703-world-championship.