Close second behind Christmas (nothing beats Christmas), the IRONMAN World Championships (when held in Kona – sorry, St George!) or ‘Kona’ as it’s affectionately known, is my favourite time of the year.
And after a three-year hiatus (looking at you, Covid!), the race is back on the Big Island this year.
After spectating the race in person twice, I’ve got a bit of FOMO seeing all the posts on Insta and Facebook, and on YouTube as well.
But I love seeing it all.
It really helps to motivate you to get back into some training! More on that in another blog post.
It’s such a great time of the year and being on the Big Island is an experience I’d definitely recommend – even as a spectator.
From visiting Lava Java, riding along the ‘Queen K’ (the Queen Kaahumanu Hwy), attempting to run through the Energy Lab and jogging along the infamous Ali’i Drive, to swimming in the crystal blue water trying to Find Nemo while floating towards the coffee boat, being on the Big Island during IRONMAN week is something else!
J and I have been excitedly following the Kona action posted on socials over the last week.
While most of the athletes now have their own YouTube channels to follow (our fave’s: Lucy’s channel and Lionel’s, too), you really can’t go passed Breakfast with Bob! Bob is an icon in Kona, as is his Breakfast with Bob broadcast, where he interviews the pros leading into the race.
My fave Breakfast with Bob interview this year is Justine Mathieux. She was so fun! “I’m strong at party!” Haha … love it!
Josh Amberger’s interview was fun as well. Plus, there were some really cool insights from him.
An IRONMAN is a 3.8km swim, followed by a 180km cycle and then a 42.2km run (that’s right a marathon after all that!).
- The 3.8km swim is an out and back in Kailua Bay.
- The 180km is mostly along the Queen Ka’ahumanu (Queen K) highway to Hawi where the bike turnaround is located. Click here for full details.
- The 42.2km run includes Ali’i Drive, the Queen K and the infamous Energy Lab. Click here for full details.
Kona has previously been a mass start where something like 2000 athletes have all started together after the pro start.
But this has changed over recent years, with the race this year being split across two days: the pro and age group women and some of the male age groups will race on Thursday (6 October) and the pro men and the rest of the age group men will race on Saturday (8 October).
So, that’s a bit different and it’ll be interesting to see if that changes some of the race dynamics at all, especially in the pro women’s field.
Also, this year, according to a statement released by IRONMAN, there are more than 5000 athletes racing! Possibly why they’ve decided to split the event over 2 days.
To anyone wanting to know who the pros are that will be racing on Thursday and Saturday, click here.
J and I decided to make watching the race a little more fun and have each listed who we think will come in the top 5 in both the women’s and men’s races.
Here are my picks:
- Daniela Ryf (the Queen of Kona! She’ll be hungry to defend her crown)
- Laura Philipp
- Anne Haug (great runner!)
- Lucy Charles-Barclay (has come second at Kona each year over recent years – possibly too soon after her recent hip injury to make the podium this year?)
- Sarah Crowley (she’s Aussie!! And also, she’s podiumed in Kona before, so it’ll be interesting to see whether she’ll podium again, but I’d say she’ll be in the top 5 if not).
- Kristian Blummenfelt (he’s winning everything at the moment!)
- Lionel Sanders (he’s come second before after a tough battle, so hopefully he can do it again – or even better maybe. He’s super fun to watch!)
- Gustav Iden
- Florian Angert
- Josh Amberger (In his interview with Bob he says he’d be stoked with a top 10 finish, but how cool would it be if he rounded out the top 5!).
For a more in-depth preview of the pro race, click here and here.
how to stream it
For anyone wanting to watch the race, you can do that on the IRONMAN Facebook page and also on their YouTube channel.
Streaming starts at 4:30AM local time and the women’s pro race on Thursday kicks off at 6:25AM local time.
Streaming on Saturday will again start at 4:30AM local time, with the pro men going off at 6:25AM local time.
So, I’m super excited about this week’s Kona coverage, and of course the race on Thursday and Saturday.
Cannot wait to see who will be crowned this year’s King and Queen of Kona!
While we wait for Thursday, here’s a recap of the 2019 race: