Every elite athlete aspires to win the IRONMAN World Championship 2022 at Kona, but first, they must qualify. There are usually several top long-distance triathletes in the world competing for the coveted title during this race held in Kailua-Kona, on the west coast of Hawaii Island (‘The Big Island). It was the brainchild of US Navy Commander John Collins and his wife Judy that the inaugural event was organized in 1978, with 15 competitors competing in the challenging event.
IRONMAN Champion Gordon Haller, a communications specialist in the US Navy, completed the race at 11:46:58 to become the first-ever champion. Due to the COVID pandemic, the last ‘Kona’ IRONMAN World Championship took place in October 2019. A series of postponements and date changes have resulted in two IRONMAN World Championships being held in 2022.
In the postponed October 2021 edition, Daniela Ryf and Kristian Blummenfelt won the Pro titles in St George, Utah on May 7, 2022. As of October 2022, the race will return to its spiritual home of Hawaii, the subject of this feature.
2022 Ironman World Championship
The professional women will race on Thursday, October 6, 2022, and the professional men will race on Saturday, October 8, 2022, during this two-day event. There will be a distribution of age groupers between the two days. two days. It looks like everything is on track for these dates in 2022, but we’ll keep you posted if anything changes. Vid could still impact the ability to gather and participate in this event if new Covid precautions are needed.
Hawaii will host the Ironman World Championship for the 44th time. Ironman World Championships have been held since 1981 in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. It’s the ultimate test of strength, resilience, and endurance. Big Island Guide will be there with athletes ranging from 18-85, 100 professional qualifiers, and over 2,000 competitors!
Triathletes from all over the world gather in Kona Hawaii each year to compete in this challenging and strenuous event. To qualify for the Ironman World Championship, you have to do other Ironman competitions or Ironman 70.3 races, which are around 50 around the world.
Looking to Beat Recent Record Setting Performances
To compete with the record-breaking performances of 2018 and 2019, this year’s athletes will have to work extremely hard. The pro competitors always arrive in Kona with ambitious goals, and we anticipate that this year will be no different. A total of five new course records were set in 2018, and some of those records were broken in 2019. At the time of 7:52:39 in 2018, Patrick Lange set the overall course record at Kailua-Kona for the first time. The 2018 race was won by Daniela Ryf, who set a new women’s course record of 8:26:16 and a new record for the women’s bike portion. The women’s course record for the swim was set by Lucy Charles, and the men’s course record for the bike was set by Cameron Wurf. In 2019, Jan Frodeno broke the previous year’s overall course record with a time of 7:51:13.
If you missed the 2019 Ironman World Championship, you can read our recap here. As a result of Covid travel restrictions, the 2020 event was canceled and the 2021 event was relocated to St. George, Utah.
We are excited to see who returns to Kona for a shot at winning this year’s race, as the athlete lineup is always impressive and full of strong contenders.
Watching the Ironman World Championship
In the weeks before The Ironman Race, watching these dedicated athletes train around the Big Island is always inspirational and makes you realize how much work goes into being the best. The incredible form and strength they display on race day will awe you, and the tremendously competitive field will keep you guessing until the end.
The Ironman Course in Kailua-Kona Hawaii
In Kailua-Kona on Hawaii’s Big Island, the race includes a 2.4-mile ocean swim in Kailua Bay, a 112-mile bicycle race along the Queen Ka’ahumanu Highway, and a 26.2-mile run. There is no doubt that this is one of the most impressive and exciting triathlon races to watch. Watching lifelong dreams come true and cheering on the amazing athletes who brave the brutal Ironman course is an inspiring experience.
We can examine the timing of the men’s pro-winner to gain a better understanding of how the race flows and how long each section takes. Having swum a 47:31, cycled a 4:16:03, and run a 2:42:43, Jan Frodeno completed the race in an astounding 7:51:13. It is important to note that many road closures block direct routes into and out of Kona, as well as in and around the downtown area, so getting around will take more time.
If you are here in Kona during the Ironman World Championship, you will need to get up early to catch the start of the swim. Kailua Bay will host the event, with the pro men’s division starting at 6:25 a.m. and the pro women’s division starting at 6:30 a.m. Following that, the age group starts will be held every five minutes between 6:55 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. Pro men will finish the swim in 47-55 minutes and will proceed to the bike race.
It is quite difficult to find parking on race day, and the best spots fill up quickly, so it is always advisable to arrive as early as possible. It is not uncommon for people to stake out spots as early as 4:30 in the morning. There are several parks in downtown Kona as well as a sea wall that lines Ali’i Drive overlooking the beginning point of the swim in Kailua Bay. The swim portion of the race can be viewed from anywhere along this line.
The bike race immediately follows the swim and competitors leave directly from the Kailua Pier transition area, heading up Palani Road, looping around to Makala Blvd and Kuakini Highway, followed by a race to Hawi on the northern tip of the island and returning via the closed Queen Ka’ahumanu Highway. To reach the turnaround point, you will need to take the upper Mamalahoa Highway 190 to Waimea, then take the 250 cuts across that takes you over the Kohala mountain.
You can see the biking event from Palani Rd when they leave the pier area, along the Kuakinin HWY, or along Queen K as they head out of Kona if you’re not heading north. It takes the pros around 4 hours and 15 minutes to ride the bike portion of the race, then they land back at the transition point around 11:30.
The run starts at Kailua Pier and heads up Palani Rd, then turns south on the Kuakini Hwy until Hual‘lai Rd, then turns around and heads back to the Queen K Hwy for the long stretch to the airport. You can see your favorite racers along Ali’i’s run portion, and then grab a nice lunch by the water while they head north. After turning around at NELHA, the racers will head back along Queen K Hwy to Ali’i Drive and their hard-earned finish line.
Men’s pro leaders will take about 2 hours 40 minutes on the run and start approaching the finish around 2:15 pm. Whenever the Ironman World Championship finishes, it’s always packed with onlookers, so if you want to see the winners, get there early.