IRONMAN Cancels 2020 World Championship in Kona

July 21, 2020, 1:11 PM HST (Updated July 21, 2020, 1:11 PM)
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Athletes wade into Kailua Bay before embarking on the 2.4-mile ROKA swim course at the 2019 Vega IRONMAN World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawai`i on Saturday, Oct. 12. PC: Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images for IRONMAN

The 2020 version of the Big Island’s premier sporting event will not be held due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

IRONMAN announced Tuesday it has canceled its 2020 World Championship, held annually in Kailua-Kona. The IRONMAN World Championship will return to Kona on Oct. 9, 2021, and the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship will return on Sept. 17 and 18, 2021, and take place in St. George, Utah. The 70.3 World Championship for 2020 has also been called off.

As the global COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact events around the world, both world championship events have seen a majority of their respective qualifying events postponed or unable to take place in 2020, impeding the ability to qualify athletes for the respective 2020 championship events, IRONMAN said in a press release.

Based on the schedule, the continuation of existing travel restrictions worldwide, and other circumstances beyond control, IRONMAN’s world championship events cannot proceed as rescheduled, the release said.

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“It is with a heavy heart that we have made the decision to cancel the 2020 editions of the IRONMAN World Championship and IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship,” said Andrew Messick, President and Chief Executive Officer for The IRONMAN Group. “While we were hopeful that we could welcome our athletes, their families, and supporters to these events in early 2021, the continued impact of the pandemic makes this impossible. It is tough to make this decision in July, but it will provide the necessary clarity for our athletes, host cities, and partners.”

Athletes who qualified for the 2020 editions of the IRONMAN World Championship and IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship event will be contacted directly. They will have the opportunity to race in the 2021 or 2022 editions of the respective World Championships, the release said.

In June, IRONMAN announced a new IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship qualifying method for athletes. The HOKA ONE ONE IRONMAN Virtual Racing Championship Series is a four-weekend long regulated age-group competition designed to reward top-performing athletes with IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship qualifying slots.

Athletes who earned qualifying slots, via that Championship Series, will now receive slots to the 2021 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship taking place in St. George, Utah, on Sept. 17 and 18, 2021.

For more information and event details for the IRONMAN World Championship, visit www.ironman.com/im-world-championship. Further updates on the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship can be found at www.ironman.com/im703-world-championship.

For more information on the IRONMAN brand and global event series, visit www.ironman.com.

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