Ironman announces the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii, will be postponed until February 2022.
Originally set for 9 October, the Ironman World Championships will not take place in 2021 and will instead be postponed until 5 February 2022 with two editions of the Kona set to take place next year.
In a statement from Ironman, CEO Andrew Messick said: “The resurgence of the virus and new Delta strain has had significant impact on the island community of Hawaii. Combined with substantial border closures and travel restrictions for qualified athletes, there is not a viable pathway in October to host the Ironman World Championship.
“After extensive consultation with governmental and community leaders in Hawaii, we believe that the best course of action is to delay the event until February of 2022.”
The move had been rumoured over the last few days as Covid takes a turn for the worse in Hawaii and hospitals reach capacity. Hawaii County Mayor Mitch Roth told the newspaper West Hawaii Today “Unfortunately, it doesn’t look too positive for Ironman this year”.
In a new statement, Roth said: “We are honoured to work alongside the fantastic Ironman staff, amid a global pandemic, to reach an equitable solution that ensures our island’s premier sporting event may persist at a later date… we look forward to welcoming the athletes and spectators from around the world to our shores once again when it is safe to do so.”
Meanwhile, race director Diana Bertsch added: “We have worked closely with local and state Hawaii officials and other key event stakeholders, and are aligned in the imperative to protect our local community by shifting planning efforts to a February race date.”
While official word has now arrived from Ironman, it came after the news was confirmed via ProTriNews, who posted a screengrab of an email sent to volunteers that confirmed the change.
This is the second year in a row that the Ironman World Championship has failed to materialise. The 2020 race was initially postponed to February 2021 but subsequently cancelled completely. Fears abound that this new race date of 5 February 2022 will meet the same fate.
Another side effect of the date change is that Olympic Champion Kristian Blummenfelt won’t have the opportunity to do the Olympics-Kona double in 2021.
That leaves the upcoming Collins Cup on 28 August and the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in St. George on 18 September – now just a single-day event – as the big championship long-course races currently on the calendar.