TAMPA, Fla. (Nov. 30, 2022) – Following the first-ever two-day IRONMAN World Championship and a continued commitment to providing women and men their own dedicated day of racing, IRONMAN announced today that the 2023 VinFast IRONMAN® World Championship triathlon will move forward with two different host venues. To ensure that both professional and amateur women and men have a focused IRONMAN World Championship race experience, the women will race in Kailua-Kona, Hawai`i on October 14, 2023, with the men’s race date and location outside of Hawai`i currently being evaluated and expected to be announced in January 2023. For 2024, the men and women would exchange locations.
The 2022 VinFast IRONMAN World Championship was held this past October in Kailua-Kona, Hawai`i over two days for the first time in the history of the event, showcasing the very best women and men in the sport while giving both their deserved spotlight. With the future dual host locations and separation of race weeks, the women’s and men’s races will each garner further attention with all eyes focused on the race week activities and lead up to their respective IRONMAN World Championship race days.
While the 2022 VinFast IRONMAN World Championship two-day format was a success in many areas and the two-day format in Kailua-Kona for 2023 had already been announced, IRONMAN and the County of Hawai’i concluded together that the impact of two days of racing in Kona is not currently in the best interest of the local community.
“We are reinforcing our commitment for a dedicated world championship race experience for women and men to each receive an exclusive spotlight on their race. Hawai`i is in our DNA and we look forward to the first-ever exclusively women’s world championship race week in Kona. At the same time, we are looking forward to announcing a co-host location for the men’s race that will be worthy of an IRONMAN World Championship and will capture the imagination of our athletes and fans,” said Andrew Messick, President & Chief Executive Officer for The IRONMAN Group.
Hawai`i is the proud birthplace of IRONMAN and despite not being able to undertake a two-day world championship event at this time, it will continue to be an important part in the shared history of IRONMAN, with Kona continuing as a co-host of the IRONMAN World Championship.
“Hawai`i County has long enjoyed partnering with IRONMAN and this year’s epic races were another example of world-class athletic competition held on the traditional Kona-Kohala world championship course,” said Hawai`i County Mayor Mitch Roth. We learned, however, that more than one race day during IRONMAN week is too many for the community to manage. We are pleased that IRONMAN plans to return to Kailua-Kona as a co-host of the 2023 VinFast IRONMAN World Championship and look forward to more exciting events in the future.”
With this major move to ensure dedicated IRONMAN World Championship racing for both women’s and men’s fields, the qualifying cycle and slot allocations will be slightly adjusted. Allocations may be viewed here, www.ironman.com/im-world-championship-2023-slot with further adjustments to occur in line with the Men’s Championship race location announcement, expected to occur in January. Additionally, all athletes who have previously qualified and registered for the 2023 VinFast IRONMAN World Championship will be contacted directly with additional information.
Additional notes on women’s IRONMAN history
IRONMAN has a long and rich history of women influencing the brand and the sport of triathlon since its very first days being co-founded in 1978 by husband and wife duo, John and Judy Collins. In just its second year, the Hawaiian IRONMAN triathlon saw Lyn Lemaire tackle the exact same distances and standards as the men finishing fifth overall of 15 starters, at a time when not even the Olympics allowed women to compete in long distance events. Since then, impactful moments, athletes, and leaders like Valerie Silk, Julie Moss, Paula Newby-Fraser, and a host of others have showcased what women could achieve leading the way for future generations. Encouraging continued growth of females in the sport saw the introduction of equal pro prize money since it was first introduced by IRONMAN in 1986, making triathlon one of the very first adopters of equality in sports pay. In the years that have followed, the influence and importance of women in the sport has continued to grow and it is with this in mind, that the pinnacle IRONMAN and IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship events offer opportunity for a separate and fully dedicated race day and experience. More information on the important part women have played in IRONMAN’s history can be found at www.ironman.com/women-of-ironman.