IRONMAN has announced that, due to the continued impact of the COVID-19 global pandemic, the 2020 editions of the IRONMAN World Championship in Kona and IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship in Taupo, New Zealand, have been cancelled.
The 2020 IRONMAN World Championship was originally scheduled for Saturday, October 10, 2020; while the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship was originally due to be held on November 28-29 in Taupō, New Zealand. The 2020 IRONMAN World Championship in Kona, Hawai`i, was then rescheduled to February 6, 2021, with the dates for the IRONMAN 70.3 Worlds in New Zealand unconfirmed.
With these rescheduled events now cancelled, the IRONMAN World Championship will return to Kailua-Kona, Hawai`i on October 9, 2021 and the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship will return on September 17-18, 2021 in St. George, Utah.
IRONMAN adds that it is working to secure Taupō, New Zealand, as the host destination for the 2022 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship.
As the global COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact events around the world, both world championship events have seen a majority of their respective qualifying events postponed or unable to take place in 2020, impeding the ability to qualify athletes for the respective 2020 world championship events.
‘Based on the schedule, the continuation of existing travel restrictions worldwide, and other circumstances beyond our control, IRONMAN’s world championship events cannot proceed as rescheduled.’
“It is with a heavy heart that we have made the decision to cancel the 2020 editions of the IRONMAN World Championship and IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship,” said Andrew Messick, President & Chief Executive Officer for The IRONMAN Group.
“While we were hopeful that we could welcome our athletes, their families, and supporters to these events in early 2021, the continued impact of the pandemic makes this impossible. It is tough to make this decision in July, but it will provide the necessary clarity for our athletes, host cities and partners.”
He continued, “It is disappointing not to be able to provide our racing community with the opportunity to compete in the IRONMAN World Championship for the first time in our 43 year history and our IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship for the first time since inception in 2006.
“We will endure, however, and look forward to the day when we will again assemble the greatest professional and age-group triathletes in the world and crown world champions.”
Athletes who qualified for the 2020 editions of the IRONMAN World Championship and IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship event will be contacted directly. They will have the opportunity to race in the 2021 or 2022 editions of the respective World Championships.
Virtual qualifiers In June, IRONMAN announced a new IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship qualifying method for athletes. The HOKA ONE ONE IRONMAN Virtual Racing Championship Series is a four-weekend long regulated age-group competition designed to reward top-performing athletes with IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship qualifying slots.
Athletes who earned qualifying slots, via that Championship Series, will now receive slots to the 2021 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship taking place in St George, Utah, USA, on September 17-18, 2021.
Looking forward St George enters an elite group of destinations around the world bestowed with hosting the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship. The event originated in Clearwater, Florida in 2006 and moved to Henderson, Nevada (2011-13) prior to embarking on a global annual rotation that began with Mont-Tremblant, Quebec, Canada (2014).
Each year since, it has reached new locations all over the world, including:
Zell am See-Kaprun, SalzburgerLand, Austria (2015);
Mooloolaba, Queensland, Australia (2016);
Chattanooga, Tennessee, United States (2017); and
Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa (2018).
In 2019, the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship took place in Nice, France. In 2021 the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship rotates back to North America for the first time since 2017.
The southwestern community of St George has been a host venue for IRONMAN and IRONMAN 70.3 triathlons since 2010. St George’s scenery and views of the surrounding red rock canyons have made the community an ideal destination for athletes for years.
The city’s walkable downtown area features great local fare and boutique shopping. It is also only a two-hour drive from the nightlife of Las Vegas. The course has historically begun in the Sand Hollow Reservoir before embarking on a bike course through Snow Canyon State Park prior to a run through the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve.
The IRONMAN 70.3 North American Pro Championship St George also earned accolades in the 2018 IRONMAN Athlete Choice awards, ranking in the top 10 for two categories – fifth in Best Overall Bike and ninth in Overall Host City Experience. In 2019 IRONMAN 70.3 St George ranked in top-10 globally in two categories of the IRONMAN Athlete Choice award – ninth for Overall Bike and eighth for Overall Venue Experience.
“Since the inception of rotating the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship to premier destinations around the globe each year, IRONMAN has created an inspirational event unlike any other,” said Kevin Lewis, Director of the Greater Zion Convention & Tourism Office.
“We are excited to be part of the prestigious and elite community of world championship host cities, and to represent the world as we welcome the world championship athletes back.”
He continued, “Our course showcases some of the most dramatic landscapes of any IRONMAN 70.3 circuit globally. The powerful combination of scenery and terrain is backed up by an energetic community that is exhilarated to host such an iconic event. Athletes who have raced here rave about the experience. Those who haven’t will soon find out why.”