Last year we reported that the Ironman World Championship would be split starting in 2023 with the women competing in Kona in October. The men’s site was not officially announced, although it had been reported that Nice, France would host the event. Today Ironman has confirmed that the men’s race will, in fact, take place in Nice on Sept. 10, 2023.
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The women’s race will take place on Oct. 14 in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. In 2024 the men will compete in Kona on Oct. 26, while the women will compete in Nice on Sept. 22. According to Ironman “th rotation will continue through 2026 with Nice and Kona acting as co-hosts for the pinnacle event in triathlon.”
“Over the years Nice and the Cote d’Azur have staked a claim as a major sporting destination,” Ironman stated in a release. “As the capital of the Alpes-Maritimes on the French Riviera in the southeast coast of France, Nice became the birthplace of long-distance triathlon in Europe in 1982 when it first hosted the ‘Triathlon International de Nice.’ From 1994-2002, Nice was host to the ITU Long Distance Triathlon World Championships five times. The triathlon became an Ironman event in 2005 and Nice has been one of the most popular locations on the Ironman race circuit, hosting both Ironman France, Ironman 70.3 Nice France, as well as hosting the pinnacle event in the Ironman 70.3 Series, the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in 2019.”
Last May Ironman CEO Andrew Messick made it clear that the future of the Ironman World Championship required two days of racing, and also indicated that if the Big Island couldn’t handle that he could envision the event moving to a new venue. While last year’s event, with two days of racing, was certainly a success, it put a lot of strain on the local community, which pushed back against a repeat of that format for next year.
We caught up with Ironman CEO Andrew Messick after it was announced that the world championship would take place in split venues. Messick, an age-group Ironman competitor himself, acknowledged that many athletes will be frustrated by the Nice/ Kona compromise, but sees this as the best possible option.
“We wish that we could keep both of the promises we made in 2023,” Messick said. “The first being that men and women get their own day of racing, and the second promise being that everyone races in Kona. The truth — however much we don’t like it — is that we can’t keep both promises. We wish it was different. We wish that we had the ability to race twice in Kona. We tried to work with the community. Thursday/ Saturday wasn’t going to happen, and Saturday/ Saturday was going to happen, October and April wasn’t going to happen. It just became clear that the appetite of the community is limited to one day of racing a year. We’re guests there. Despite the fact that we have 40 years of history and we have a team that lives on the Big Island, the community spoke, and we have to respect their desires and their wishes and live with the implications.”