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A guide to Kona: Enjoy race week on the Big Island with these must-do activities


With Kona just over a week away, most athletes who qualified for the Ironman World Championship are either in Hawaii or arriving in the next few days. For first-timers or anyone who wants to get the full Kona experience — while not compromising a good racing peformance — we’ve compiled a list of some must-do activities to make the most of your time on the Big Island.

Ho’ala Ironman Training Swim

Ironman hosts a race course practice swim each year to help get athletes acquainted with the course while not tiring themselves out too much prior to the race. This year’s swim is being held on Saturday, Oct 7 and the registration link is here.

See the volcanoes

Spend some time decompressing after the race and visit Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, home of Kilauea volcano, one of the most active volcanoes on earth. It’s one of the most popular visitor attractions in Hawaii and for many Canadians, a chance to see some totally unfamiliar geographical wonders.

Underpants run

Ironman World Championship 2015. As usual the Underpants Run, which raised money for local charities, was a huge hit.
Ironman World Championship 2015. As usual the Underpants Run, which raised money for local charities, was a huge hit.

The annual Kona underpants run is well-anticipated event during race week and heads into its 20th year. Pros, age-groupers and fans strip down to the bare minimum for a charity run supporting local organizations. This year’s run takes place on Oct. 11th and more info can be found here.

Parade of Nations

This year’s parade of nations is being held on Tuesday, October 10th. It showcases the Ironman World Championship’s diverse, international flavour and is a chance for all athletes to come together and parade down the famous Ali’i Drive. You can find out more in the Ironman World Championship guide. Dress in your most patriotic Canadian gear for a chance to be featured in our official photo gallery, and tag us on Instagram in your pictures as well!

Stargazing at Mauna Kea observatory

Hawaii Island is home to one of the most renowned astronomical sites on the planet. The Mauna Kea observatory is home to 13 telescopes  and offers an unparalleled view of the stars thanks to the clean air. The sunsets above the clouds can also be spectacular. Guided stargazing tours offer transportation, warm parkas, dinner, access to the mountain summit, detailed narratives about the history and cultural significance of Mauna Kea as well as night viewing.

Canadians in Kona meet-up

Meet your fellow Canadian Kona competitors and get all your race questions answered by 11-time Ironman champion Lisa Bentley at a breakfast meet-up hosted by Subaru Canada on October 10th at 9 AM at the Kona Inn Restaurant. Event details can be found here. All Canadian athletes are invited and are welcome to bring a guest. TMC editors Claire Duncan and Kevin Mackinnon will be getting interviews with those interested, during the meet-up.


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