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New swim start protocol for the 2019 Ironman World Championship

Announced on June 10th, a new swim start protocol that will be implemented for the 2019 Ironman World Championship. For the first time, the world championship event will utilize a wave start that separates the field into 11 groups. Like in previous years, the professional men’s field will start at 6:25 a.m., followed by the professional women’s field at 6:30 a.m. The PC/Open Exhibition and Handcycle divisions will then begin their day at 6:35 a.m. The first age group wave will start at 6:55 a.m. and continue every 5 minutes until all athletes are in the water.

The start of the Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.

“The swim start change is a reflection of, and reaction to, the extraordinary ability of our Ironman World Championship athletes,” said Andrew Messick, President & CEO of Ironman. “While we appreciate the simplicity and iconic visual of the mass start, our primary responsibility is to create a fair race for all athletes. A single start each for age-group men and age-group women creates too much density on the bike course.”

The decision to move to an extended wave start was made following a comprehensive analysis of athlete data with the goal of reducing peak athlete density flowing onto the bike course.  “We are always looking for ways to improve the quality of our events in an effort to create a fair, safe and world-class experience for our competitors who work so hard to get to this start line,” said Diana Bertsch, Senior Vice President of World Championship Events. “The Ironman World Championship is the pinnacle of endurance racing and our belief is that this change will allow for the highest competition to occur while enhancing the quality of the race.”

2017 Ironman World Championship

New start times:

Time of Day Division
6:25 MPRO
6:30 FPRO
6:35 PC OPEN / HC
6:55 M18-39
7:00 M40-44
7:05 M45-49
7:10 M50+
7:15 F18-39
7:20 F40-54
7:25 F55+
7:30 Legacy