The 2021 IRONMAN World Championship has been postponed…and moved out of Hawaii. Citing COVID-related health and travel restrictions, the deferred race will now take place in St. George, Utah, on May 7, 2022. It will be the first time the event will run outside of Hawaii since its inception in 1978.
The move is temporary, IRONMAN’s leadership says; the race will return to its home of Kailua-Kona, HI in Oct. 2022 — with a new two-day format. According to Thursday’s press release, the new format event will see an expanded women’s professional field of 50 athletes race on Thursday, Oct. 6, and 50 professional men race on Saturday, Oct. 8.
Two-day format and more for IRONMAN 2022
2022’s new structure will also cut down on race day overcrowding — a recurring issue exacerbated by the addition of competitors who qualified in 2020 and 2021 — years in which the IWC deferred due to the pandemic.
“We expect the races in October of 2022 to be unique and historic,” said IRONMAN President and CEO Andrew Messick. “Two days of racing in Kailua-Kona address 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.”
And there’s a local economic upside to spreading the competition across several days, too. Ross Birch, executive director of the Island of Hawaii Visitors Bureau, stated, “While the iconic event has provided long-lasting economic benefits to our island… We are in full support of IRONMAN’s change to host a two-day race format that enables the opportunity for all qualifying athletes from the past two-plus years to compete as well as giving the local economy a chance to benefit and recoup lost tourism opportunities.”
IRONMAN World Championship heads to St. George
As for the one-off relocation to St. George next spring, race coordinators will combine 2021’s IRONMAN World Championship comp with IRONMAN St. George, which already occurs on May 7, 2022.
Regarding the change in locale, Messick stated, “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.”
Headed there? Check out our Where to Ride guide for St. George, UT. Not only is it packed with tips for mountain bikers, but it’s got the best places to eat en route and while there, plus tips on side trips for after the race!