More than 2,400 of the world’s top athletes will head to Kailua-Kona, Hawaii on October 14 for the most iconic one-day endurance event in the world – the 2017 Ironman World Championship triathlon. For nearly four decades since 1978, Ironman has produced this world class event, bringing the world’s best triathletes together in competition.
This year’s edition of the Ironman World Championship welcomes the largest international athlete field in race history with athletes hailing from 66 countries, regions and territories. Athletes ranging in age from 18 to 84 have earned their championship opportunity by qualifying at one of more than 40 Ironman events worldwide.
This year, Europe represents 39 percent of the field, while North America closely follows with 37 percent of athletes registered to race in the Ironman World Championship. Asia-Pacific brings 17 percent of participants, with South America at five percent.
“The evolution of this race over the decades has been amazing,” said Andrew Messick, Chief Executive Officer for Ironman. “From the most modest of beginnings, the Ironmn World Championship has evolved into an extraordinary international event with more than 2,400 registered competitors from 66 countries around the world. These athletes have earned their slots in Kailua-Kona through extraordinary feats and deserve the right to race with the world’s elite.”
The United States of America is the most represented nation with 741 registered competitors, followed by Australia (234), Germany (217) and Great Britain (150). Athletes will travel from 48 U.S. states, with the greatest number coming from California (113), followed by Texas (58), Colorado (53), Hawaii (50) and New York (49). Others from countries as far as South Africa, Brazil and Uzbekistan are traveling around the globe for their shot at the title.
This year, returning age-group champions from the 2016 IROMAN World Championship on the women’s side include Cullen Goodyear (CAN), Jenny Alcorn (AUS), Lisbeth Kenyon (NOR), Jane Hansom(GBR), Natalie Grabow (USA) and Katrine Amtkjaer Nielson (DNK). On the men’s side, returning age-group champions include Hiromu Inada (JPN), Fidel Rotondaro (VEN), Daniel Stubleski (USA), Christian Haupt (DEU) and Christian Hans Tungesvik (NOR).
Racing alongside the returning age-group winners is an inspiring group of athletes that includes Aron Anderson, a world adventurer who overcame cancer at the age of seven leaving him paralyzed from the waist down only to climb Mount Kilimanjaro and win the 2017 Red Bull Wings for Life World Run; a courageous stage-4 pancreatic cancer fighter, Mike Levine, who was motivated by and will be racing with 1982 Ironman World Champion, Kathleen McCartney; a former marine racing to honor his 29 fallen brothers, Mike Ergo; an inspiring NYC-based pediatrician who saved a fellow athlete’s life during Ironman Santa Rosa in July, Dr. Tricia DeLaMora; and Japan’s Hiromu Inada who, at 84 years old, could extend his record as the oldest competitor to ever cross the Ironman World Championship finish line.
Additional historical facts and stats for this year’s Ironman World Championship:
- This will be the largest athlete field ever at the Ironman World Championship, with more than 2,400 competitors
- 72 percent of participants (1,762 athletes) are male
- 28 percent of participants (698 athletes) are female
- 43 is the average age of registrants this year
- Hiromu Inada (Japan) is the oldest participant at 84, while Paul Lennart (Denmark) is the youngest at 18
- 11 athletes will be celebrating their birthday on race day
- Over 85,000 athletes register to compete in Ironman races each year, representing over 90 countries, regions and territories
- Approximately 260,000 registered athletes representing over 200 countries, regions and territories competed in Ironman and Ironman 70.3 races this year
- Five countries are sending athletes to the Ironman World Championship for the first time, Kazakhstan, Paraguay, Serbia, Uruguay, and Uzbekistan.
- 1,001 competitors representing 390 different TriClubs from around the world are racing at this year’s Ironman World Championship and total 40.7 percent of the field
- 1,530 athletes racing in this year’s Ironman World Championship are Ironman All World Athletes roughly 85% of the athletes racing represent the top 10% of age group athletes in the world.
- 20 new Ironman and Ironman 70.3 races were established in 2017
- More than 5,000 volunteers will help make the Ironman World Championship a success