World Triathlon Corporation (WTC) announces 2020 Ironman Triathlon World Championships rescheduled until 2021.
The new date for the Ironman Triathlon World Championships, held every October in Kona, Hawaii, will be Saturday, February 6th, 2021.
Citing the continuing COVID19 pandemic, which has already played havoc with the qualifying races for the triathlon world championships, Ironman decided to postpone the 2020 triathlon until early 2021.
Ironman hopes that by moving the race into 2021, it will allow more time for the pandemic to run its course. The move also allowas a wider qualifying window for triathletes to qualify for the race, with the expectation that the Ironman races held in late 2020 will offer qualifying slots to the February version on the race.
Ironman also still plans on holding the October 2021 version of the Ironman Triathlon World Championships as well. This will be the second time that Kona has hosted two Ironman World Championships in the same year. The first time was in 1982 when the race was relocating from Oahu to the Big Island. The shift to a fall time slot allowed triathletes that qualified for the race to train thru the summer in anticipation of an October race instead of having to try to train thru the winter for the February race.
A press release posted at Ironman.com gave more details:
Based on the current Hawaiian government policies and international border restrictions in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 IRONMAN World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawai`i originally scheduled for October 10, 2020 will be postponed to February 6, 2021.
The decision was made after careful consideration with our local partners and authorities to assess the feasibility of hosting the 2020 IRONMAN World Championship this October in accordance with the recommendations on mass gatherings, border and travel restrictions, athlete qualification opportunities and other issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic beyond our control. Based on the information we have to date coupled with our mission to host a truly competitive world championship and establish a timeline that gives our athletes and the community as much preparation time as possible, the 2020 IRONMAN World Championship cannot proceed as originally planned.Press Release on the Ironman.com website https://www.ironman.com/updates
With the move to a late winter date, the February 2021 version of the Ironman World Championships would seem to favor athletes from the Southern Hemisphere, who for once, will avoid the Southern Hemisphere winter training. The February date will also probably see many professional Ironman triathletes relocate temporarily to Australia or New Zealand for training camps leading up to the Triathlon World Championships.
Cameron Brown, a New Zealand professional triathlete who had two second place finishes at the Ironman World Championships in 2001 and 2005, had this to say about the date change to February.
The road to @ironmantri world championship in kona, Hawaii will now take place on February 6th 2021. Tough for Northern hemisphere athletes but great for Southern Hemisphere athletes who for once in there life time can train through their summer instead of slogging it out through winter in wet cold conditions. I know I always trained my best through a kiwi summer leading into Ironman New Zealand. I would have loved a February date. Maybe I should see if I can qualify again:) the last time kona was raced in February was back in 1982!Cameron Brown, professional triathlete from New Zealand on Facebook
It will be interesting to see how Ironman handles the allotment of qualifying spots for the race. Recently, with only a few exceptions, qualifying spots were only available at other full Ironman distance races. With having two Triathlon World Championships in February and October, Ironman will have to offer more qualifying slots to fill both races or allow more lottery, legacy and Ironman Foundation triathletes into the race.
The Hawaii Ironman World Championships has been held every year since 1978. The Ironman triathlon race distance includes a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike and a 26.2 mile run.