St. George, Utah becomes first-ever host of IRONMAN World Championship outside of Hawai`i
Tampa, FL (September 23, 2021) — IRONMAN, in collaboration with both Greater Zion and St. George, Utah officials and local and state Hawai`i officials, announced today that the IRONMAN® World Championship® will move outside of Hawai`i for the first time, taking place in St. George, Utah on May 7, 2022, prior to returning to Kona, Hawai`i with a new two-day race format on October 6 and 8, 2022.
The 2021 Supersapiens IRONMAN World Championship will take place in St. George, Utah, on May 7, 2022, giving professional triathletes the opportunity to claim a world championship title and a share of the $750,000 prize purse that goes with it. The ongoing uncertainty regarding Kailua-Kona, Hawaii`s ability to host the event in February required a change in venue to outside of Hawai`i for the first time since the inaugural event in 1978.
St. George was selected as the first new host location of the event outside of Hawai`i in 40-plus years based on its strong community support, challenging course, and experience hosting IRONMAN® triathlons and other major events, including the successful recently completed 2021 Intermountain Healthcare IRONMAN 70.3® World Championship presented by Utah Sports Commission. St. George will also host the 2022 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship on October 28-29, 2022.
“The honor to host the first IRONMAN World Championship outside of Hawai`i is as humbling as it is thrilling. There are few events that hold the prestige and respect of the IRONMAN World Championship in Kona,” said Kevin Lewis, Director of the Greater Zion Convention & Tourism Office. “I think we understand the weight and responsibility we now have to carry forward the cherished significance of the IRONMAN World Championship and we don’t take that responsibility lightly. We have the deepest respect for the IRONMAN World Championship’s legacy in Hawai`i and all that has gone on before – the passion, the dreams, the gut-wrenching persistence, and the human spirit of caring for one another as we push forward to be the best version of ourselves. Hosting the IRONMAN World Championship here gives us the opportunity to truly honor that legacy with our own brand of enduring success, and once again I’m certain we will rise to it.”
“We are fortunate to have built such a strong and trusted relationship with our friends in the greater St. George region over the past 10-plus years,” said Andrew Messick, President & Chief Executive Officer for The IRONMAN Group. “St. George stepped up to ensure IRONMAN athletes will have a 2021 world championship, even if delayed into 2022. We all just witnessed why this special place has been dubbed the ‘Land of Endurance’ and we are confident that we will have an outstanding championship in May.”
“Hosting the IRONMAN World Championship is yet another example of the Utah Sports Commission’s sport and Olympic legacy efforts that showcase globally why Utah is known as the State of Sport,” said Utah Sports Commission President and CEO, Jeff Robbins. “Together with our partners, we look forward to welcoming the world to Utah.”
“Events like the IRONMAN World Championship that attract athletes from every corner of the world are great examples of our state’s high level of engagement in global sport,” said Utah Governor, Spencer Cox. “The significant economic impact and the media value will be of great benefit to St. George, Washington County and the entire state.”
IRONMAN World Championship Returns to Kona in October 2022 with Two-Day Race Format
For the first time in the 40-plus year history of the IRONMAN World Championship, the pinnacle event for triathlon will take place over two days with the 2022 IRONMAN World Championship returning to Kona, Hawai`i on October 6 and 8, 2022. The two-day event will see an expanded women’s professional field of 50 athletes race on Thursday, October 6, and 50 professional men race on Saturday, October 8. Details of the age-group races will be communicated in the coming weeks.
“We expect the races in October of 2022 to be unique and historic,” said Messick. “Two days of racing in Kailua-Kona addresses the overwhelming demand from athletes to race in a World Championship and will allow us to host our deferred athletes and place more emphasis on showcasing our women’s and men’s professional races.”
“We are excited to work in collaboration with IRONMAN to bring two events home to Hawaiʻi Island in October of 2022,” said Hawai`i County Mayor, Mitch Roth. “As our island’s premier sporting event, IRONMAN has been a trusted community partner for over 40 years, and we’re ever grateful for their willingness and ability to adapt to our community’s needs and contribute to its vibrancy. That said, we would like to send a sincere mahalo to the city of St. George, Utah, for allowing IRONMAN competitors a stage to compete, as we ready our shores to welcome back our IRONMAN ʻohana in anticipation of next year’s events.”
“Hawaii Island, and Kona in particular, have had a wonderful 40-plus year relationship with IRONMAN and its origins,” said Ross Birch, Island of Hawai`i Visitors Bureau Executive Director. “While the iconic event has provided long-lasting economic benefits to our island, what’s sometimes missed is the transformation of Kona as a lifestyle destination because of IRONMAN. We are in full support of IRONMAN’s change to host a two-day race format that enables the opportunity for all qualifying athletes from the past two-plus years to compete as well as giving the local economy a chance to benefit and recoup lost tourism opportunities.”
“The loss of the past two IRONMAN World Championship races certainly dealt us an economic blow. Our restaurants have always received a big boost from the race, athletes, and their families. We are very excited to hear that with two races next October we can plan to make up for the economic losses from the past two race cancellations,” said Luana Hospitality Principal, Eric von Platen Luder.
“It has been a challenging few years, however we have stayed true to our goal to create exceptional experiences for our ‘ohana,” said Diana Bertsch, Senior Vice President, World Championship Events for The IRONMAN Group. “We are grateful to our host communities in St. George and Kailua-Kona as well as their local and state officials, for their willingness to trust us. Our team is committed to putting on incredible race weeks as we add pages to the IRONMAN World Championship history books in May and October 2022.”
IRONMAN athletes registered for the 2021 and 2022 editions of the IRONMAN World Championship triathlon, along with athletes currently registered for 2022 IRONMAN St. George, will be contacted directly with additional information. For more information and event details for the IRONMAN World Championship, please visit www.ironman.com/im-world-championship.
The pandemic has greatly impacted the Hawaiian community not only through deadly cases of COVID, but also significantly hurting the local economy due to limited tourism opportunities. As the impact of the pandemic was felt in our home community where our staff and many volunteers live and work, a targeted initiative, Kahiau Together, was created alongside the IRONMAN Foundation in July 2020 with an initial $1 million commitment to support locals who were suffering due to food insecurities. By this year’s end, the Kahiau Together initiative will have hosted 25 events locally, serving over 132,000 meals through the distribution of food bundles of locally sourced fresh proteins, fruits, vegetables, and starches. An additional $30,000 in grants from the IRONMAN Foundation has been provided to non-profits feeding their communities. Those needing support can attend one of the following upcoming events:
Monday, October 4, 2021 – Kona International Marketplace
Heroes of Hawai`i
Monday, November 22, 2021 – Kona International Marketplace
Monday, December 20, 2021 – Kona International Marketplace
Additional information on the Kahiau Together initiative, schedule of events, grant applications, and how to support these efforts, visit www.ironmanfoundation.org/kahiau-together.
IRONMAN World Championship
Since its inception in 1978 on the Island of O`ahu, the IRONMAN World Championship has etched its name in history through stellar performances, inspirational participants and emotional memories. In 1981, the race moved from the tranquil shores of Waikīkī to the barren lava fields of Kona on the Island of Hawai`i where it continues to take place to this day. The race now sees over 2,500 athletes embark on a 140.6-mile journey that presents the ultimate test of body, mind, and spirit to earn the title of IRONMAN World Champion. The most iconic one-day sporting event in the world is the culmination of 40 global IRONMAN events with over 94,000 athletes around the world striving for one of the coveted qualifying slots. The 2021 edition of the event will take place in St. George, Utah in May 2022, becoming the first location to host the event outside of Hawai`i since its origins in 1978. After a two-year hiatus from Kona due to COVID, the race will return to Kona and take place as a two-day event in October. For more information, visit www.ironman.com/im-world-championship.
About The IRONMAN Group
The IRONMAN Group operates a global portfolio of events that includes the IRONMAN® Triathlon Series, the IRONMAN® 70.3® Triathlon Series, the IRONMAN® Virtual Racing™ (VR™) Series, 5150™ Triathlon Series, the Rock ‘n’ Roll® Running Series, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Virtual Running™ Series, IRONKIDS®, World Triathlon Championship Series, premier running events including the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon™ and The Sun-Herald City2Surf®, Ultra-Trail® World Tour events including Tarawera Ultra and Ultra-Trail Australia™, mountain bike races including the Absa Cape Epic®, road cycling events including Haute Route®, and gravel racing like Gravel Epic®, and other multisport races. The IRONMAN Group is the largest operator of mass participation sports in the world and provides more than a million participants annually the benefits of endurance sports through the company’s vast offerings. Since the inception of the iconic IRONMAN® brand and its first event in 1978, athletes have proven that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE® by crossing finish lines around the world. Beginning as a single race, The IRONMAN Group has grown to become a global sensation with hundreds of events across 55+ countries. The IRONMAN Group is owned by Advance, a private, family-owned business. For more information, visit www.ironman.com/about-ironman-group.
Advance is a private, family-held business that owns and invests in companies across media, entertainment, technology, communications, education and other promising growth sectors. Our mission is to build the value of our companies over the long-term by fostering growth and innovation. Advance’s portfolio includes Condé Nast, Advance Local, Stage Entertainment, The IRONMAN Group, American City Business Journals, Leaders Group, Turnitin, 1010data and Pop. Together these operating companies employ more than 17,000 people in 29 countries. Advance is also among the largest shareholders in Charter Communications, Discovery and Reddit. For more information visit www.advance.com.