Yesterday we reported that, according to one outlet, the 2023 Ironman World Championship was going to be split between two venues. Today we can at least confirm some of that – according to a release from Ironman, the women will be competing in Kona on October 14, while the men will compete somewhere outside Hawaii.
“To ensure that both professional and amateur women and men have a focused Ironman World Championship race experience, the women will race in Kailua-Kona, Hawai`i on October 14, 2023, with the men’s race date and location outside of Hawai`i currently being evaluated and expected to be announced in January 2023,” Ironman announced in a release today. “For 2024, the men and women would exchange locations.”
We’ve reported extensively on the issues around the two days of racing on the Big Island this year, and it was becoming increasingly obvious that despite a deal struck this summer that would enable Ironman to repeat that next year, the community in Kailua-Kona was simply not ready to host a two-day event in 2023. That put Ironman in a real bind – they had already carved out an extra 1,200 women’s qualifying spots for a dedicated women’s only race day, and putting over 4,000 athletes on the course for one day of racing simply isn’t an option. Ironman CEO Andrew Messick has been steadfast in his commitment to offer two distinct days of racing for the Ironman World Championship, as they do for the Ironman 70.3 World Championship. Today’s announcement confirms that, and explains the necessity to find a new venue to co-host the event.
“We are reinforcing our commitment for a dedicated world championship race experience for women and men to each receive an exclusive spotlight on their race,” Messick said. “Hawai`i is in our DNA and we look forward to the first-ever exclusively women’s world championship race week in Kona. At the same time, we are looking forward to announcing a co-host location for the men’s race that will be worthy of an Ironman World Championship and will capture the imagination of our athletes and fans.”
While many male triathletes will be disappointed that they won’t be competing on the famed Queen K highway this year, this solution does maintain a relationship between Ironman’s flagship race and the Big Island.
“Hawai`i County has long enjoyed partnering with Ironman and this year’s epic races were another example of world-class athletic competition held on the traditional Kona-Kohala world championship course,” said Hawai`i County Mayor Mitch Roth. “We learned, however, that more than one race day during Ironman week is too many for the community to manage. We are pleased that Ironman plans to return to Kailua-Kona as a co-host of the 2023 Vinfast Ironman World Championship and look forward to more exciting events in the future.”
Men who qualify for the 2023 Ironman World Championship will also have the opportunity to defer their world championship race until 2024, when the men will compete on the Big Island. Qualifying for the two Ironman World Championship events is likely to change – which Ironman will finalize once the men’s sight is officially announced in January – click here to see the current list of qualifying slots for the 2023 championship event.
Ironman has also created an FAQ page on its site with more details on deferrals and other questions.