For the first time in the long history of Ironman the Ironman World Championship will take place somewhere outside of Hawaii. While we are patiently awaiting the start signal for the Ironman World Championship in St. George, Ironman announced to consider the two-day format – which they will adopt for a first time in Kona later this year – a long-term thing. And there’s urgency with it, because Kona is becoming too small to host all athletes on one day, Ironman CEO Andrew Messick explains: “Having two days of racing for the future of the Ironman World Championships is going to be critical. We’re hopeful we’ll have a long-term solution for two days of racing in Kona, but we’re going to learn a lot this fall, and we’ll see.”
Unlike in other years – when both the pro men, women and all Age Groupers raced on the same day – this year Kona will be spread out over two days: with Thursday Oct. 6 starring the pro women and Saturday Oct. 8 the pro men. This two-day format has been adopted by the Ironman 70.3 World Championship before, allowing both the pro men and women to have just enough airtime, but it will now transfer onto the Long Distance too. That means two long days of racing await us.
“Creating a two-day race has been transformative for our 70.3 World Championship”, Messick explained, saying that racing spread out over two days allow bigger fields and equally shares the attention between women and men.
However, other than with the Ironman 70.3 World Championship, Kona will not take place two days in a row, as that’s practically impossible, Messick says. That has everything to do with the length of the races. With athletes finishing late at night, it would – for instance – be impossible for other athletes to check in their bikes the day before the next race.