After a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the VinFast Ironman World Championship is back in Kailua-Kona, with a new two-day race format: the women’s event is on Oct. 6 and the men compete on Oct. 8.
The triathlon organizers are emphasizing to its participants to “Live Aloha,” which builds upon the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority’s initiative for responsible tourism. Live Aloha emphasizes the importance of the community, culture, and land on the Big Island that have made the Ironman World Championship event so special here for more than 40 years.
Through Live Aloha and in the spirit of this year’s event theme of Kū Like (stand together), Ironman organizers are encouraging all those attending, visiting and participating in the event to act mindfully and take part in learning about and respecting Hawaiian culture, lands and people throughout their visit to the Island.
“Live Aloha seems like such a natural fitting motto for the race and the days around it,” three-time Ironman World Champion Jan Frodeno said in a press release. “Being well aware of nature, conditions and the surroundings has always been a part of my personal journey on the island.
“When you display care for the land, the people and the culture, you get so much back in return. The last years have shown that we can’t take this most amazing race and its shared history with Hawaiʻi for granted so make sure you create memories to look back fondly upon.”
Live Aloha also encourages all people to be pono (righteous) on Hawaiʻi Island by taking the Pono Pledge. As described by Larry Lindsey Kauanoe Kimura, Grandfather of Hawaiian Language Revitalization: “Pono extends beyond its many English translations. To live pono is to be in perfect harmony with all things and to be aligned with your custodial relationship with the planet and its inhabitants.”
Nearly 20,000 people to date have signed the Pono Pledge, which vows to a mindful visitation, community enrichment, and more. To make the Pono Pledge, go to: www.ponopledge.com/take-the-island-of-hawaii-pono-pledge/.
“We know there is great anticipation after three years without a World Championship Event on Hawaiʻi Island and excitement can sometimes be blinding to other important areas,” Diana Bertsch, Senior Vice President of World Championship Events for The Ironman Group, said in a press release. “We have been mindful about the return of the event, understanding that to Live Aloha we must Kū Like as it is the communal responsibility of our athletes, team members, partners, supporters, volunteers, media members and visitors to play an active role in taking care of this place that so many love and call home, including a core group of our Ironman World Championship Team.”
Participatory projects and educational sessions will be available for people to engage with and learn more about the local community and culture. Expanding on the annual tradition of hosting service projects throughout race week, Ironman will work with Island Breeze, Queen Liliʻuokalani Trust and other local organizations to host a cultural educational program.
This will include free cultural tours and activities as well as environmental education on things we can do to protect the local land and waters, such as wearing mineral sunscreen.
Ironman also will be hosting service projects in which everyone – athletes, team members, supporters, volunteers and media – are invited to give back with the rest of their Ironman ʻohana. For more information on participating in the cultural activities, tours and service projects, please visit www.ironman.com/kona-community-live-aloha.
“We know how important this race is to athletes and their supporters and that, from the minute they step on the Island, their focus is set on race day,” said Bertsch. “Live Aloha is our way of educating and encouraging athletes and visitors to be mindful of the simple yet extremely important things they can do to respect the Island and people that make this incredible event possible.”
Tips to Live Aloha while visiting the Big Island:
“Over the past few years, our community has come together to enhance our recognition of our collective responsibility to each other and our ‘āina — which we believe will provide you all with an enriched experience of our island that is rooted in our local values and shared through our abundance of aloha,” Hawaiʻi County Mayor Mitch Roth said in a press release. “With that aloha, we look forward to your return, as we once again stand shoulder-to-shoulder to cheer on the best athletes in the world from the best place in the world.”
For more information about Live Aloha, cultural activities and the Pono Pledge, please visit: www.ironman.com/kona-community. For more information about the 2022 VinFast Ironman World Championship event, visit www.ironman.com/im-world-championship-2022.