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Will the Ironman World Championship move from Kona? Maybe, says CEO Andrew Messick

May race in St. George will “offer some good conversations” about the future of the Ironman World Championship

Photo by: Kevin Mackinnon

Ironman CEO Andrew Messick has been known to float ideas through interviews in the past, and he appeared to use a recent interview with Mark Allen as an opportunity to feel the waters on whether or not the Ironman World Championship could someday begin a global rotation similar to the Ironman 70.3 World Championship.

When Allen asked if the race in Utah meant that we’d see the Ironman World Championship take place in different venues, Messick didn’t shoot down the idea, nor did he in any way, shape or form confirm that it was a possibility. Messick seems to be looking at the challenges the COVID-19 pandemic have presented as an opportunity to test the waters a bit.

“Maybe,” Messick said of the possibility of a rotating venue. “The World Championship for the Ironman is so historically linked to Hawaii … But being able to try and see what a world championship outside of Hawaii looks like will be really interesting for us, and we’ll have an opportunity to gauge the reaction of athletes, to see what kind of racing takes place, to see what type of athletes are able to compete successfully.”

Messick links the rotating 70.3 worlds as being “instrumental in the growth” of 70.3 racing around the world, and is open to see if something similar is possible with Ironman’s full distance world championship. 

“We’re going to learn a lot in May,” he said. It is going to give us some really good information to generate some conversations about what is the future of the Ironman World Championship.”

Related: No, Ironman isn’t selling slots to the Ironman World Championship

Messick also feels that the two-day format for the Ironman World Championship in Kona this October “represents some profound changes,” all of which will give Ironman a lot to look at for the future of its world championships.

“At the end of 2022 we’re going to have a lot to think about around what world championship racing is going to look like in the Ironman ecosystem,” he said.

Based on Ironman’s inability to fill the world championship event in St. George, it would appear that athletes aren’t as keen on the idea of the Ironman World Championship taking place anywhere other than Kona, but one would imagine that there are some lucrative options for Ironman to move the race around – various regions would no-doubt jump at the chance to write the company a big check in order to host the race. Whether or not the athletes will go for that scenario, though, remains a big question.