A month after postponing the 2021 Ironman World Championship until February 5, 2022, Ironman officials changed course, deciding to move the event from Kailua-Kona to St. George, Utah.
Ironman made the announcement Thursday morning in conjunction with officials from Grand Zion and St. George, Utah, as well as local and state officials from Hawaii. The new date for the 2021 World Championship will be May 7, 2022.
“Continuing uncertainty regarding Kailua-Kona, Hawaii’s ability to host the event in February necessitated a change of venue outside of Hawaii for the first time since the inaugural event in 1978,” the group said. Ironman in a press release.
This is the first time in racing history that the 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and 26.2 mile run will take place outside of the state of Hawaii. The first Ironman World Championship was held in Oahu in 1978 before moving to Kailua-Kona in 1981.
The event is set to return to the Big Island in October 2022 with a new two-day race format. The professional women’s peloton will expand to 50 athletes and compete on Thursday October 6, while the 50 professional men will compete on Saturday October 8.
“We expect the October 2022 races to be unique and historic,” said Andrew Messick, President and CEO of the Ironman Group. “Two days of racing in Kailua-Kona responds to the overwhelming demand from athletes to compete in a world championship and will allow us to welcome our deferred athletes and put more emphasis on showcasing our professional women’s and men’s races. “
Hawaii County Mayor Mitch Roth said he has expressed his excitement about the potential of two events on the island next October.
“As our island’s premier sporting event, Ironman has been a trusted community partner for over 40 years, and we are always grateful for their willingness and ability to adapt to the needs of our community and contribute to its vibrancy. “, did he declare.
Several business leaders have taken note of the passage of the race to a two-day format. Some have expressed optimism that the new format could help offset the economic losses suffered over the past two years.
“The loss of the last two Ironman World Championship races has certainly dealt us an economic blow. Our restaurants have always received a big boost from the running, the athletes and their families, ”said Eric von Platen Luder, director of Luana Hospitality Group, which operates Huggo’s, On the Rocks, Lava Lava Beach Club and Kai Eats and Drinks on the leeward side of the Big Island. “We are very happy to learn that with two races next October, we can expect to make up for the economic losses from the last two race cancellations.”
Ross Birch, executive director of the Hawaii Island Visitors Bureau, said the office fully supports the plans.
“While the iconic event has delivered lasting economic benefits to our island, what is sometimes missing is the transformation of Kona as a lifestyle destination because of Ironman,” he said. . “We fully support Ironman’s change to run a two-day race format that allows all qualified athletes of the past two years and over to compete, while giving the local economy a chance to benefit and recover. lost tourism opportunities. . “
Ironman also took note of its targeted Kahiau Together initiative to support food insecure residents. Since July 2020, more than 132,000 meals have been served through 25 distribution events.
Three next driving events will take place in the Kona International Market on October 4, November 22 and December 20. and the starches will be distributed.