COVID-19 Kills Ironman Kona
For the first time in its 42 years, the Championships have had to be cancelled due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
In a release, the organizers of the Kona World Championships stated: “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.”
Ironman Kona was originally scheduled for October 10 in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. On May 14, organizers announced it was postponed to February 6, 2021, but now, it has been canceled altogether.
The Ironman consists of a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike and a 26.2-mile marathon run. The top finishers normally take around 8 to 9 hours to complete the competition.
The Ironman 70.3 World Championships, which were originally scheduled for New Zealand in late November, have also been canceled after first being postponed indefinitely in May.
Triathletes who qualified for either of the 2020 championships will be contacted and will have the opportunity to race in 2021 or 2022. As of right now, the next Ironman is set for October 9, 2021 in Kailua-Kona. The next Ironman 70.3 is scheduled for September 17-18, 2021, in St. George, Utah.
The very first Hawaii Ironman triathlon was held on February 18, 1978 in Honolulu on the island of Oahu. Fifteen athletes competed with 12 crossing the finish line. Each finisher was given a handmade trophy. By 2019, more than 20,000 signed up to compete in the Championships.
The Championships involve a week of festivities and side events before the actual event. This brings a lot of tourist activities, bringing a massive economic boost to Hawaii. Athletes and their family and friends stay an average of 6 nights for the event, having an economic impact of around US$30 million. There is no other means for the state of make up this huge tourism loss.