Ironman’s Parade of Nations on Tuesday to feature participants from more than 70 countries

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2023 VinFast Ironman World Championship competitor Larissa Kragasich from Austria will be walking in the Parade of Nations on Oct. 10. Here she is pictured in Bike Works Kona a day earlier, where she reflected on the opportunity to represent her home during the annual walk. Photo credit: Megan Moseley/Big Island Now.

Austrian Larissa Kragasich walked in the 2023 VinFast Ironman World Championship Parade of Nations last month in Nice, France, to support her husband who was competing in the men’s race.

But on Tuesday, in downtown Kona, she will be walking in the Parade of Nations as a competitor in the first Ironman championship race to feature only female athletes.

She said she’ll be dressed in red and white, the colors of her country, and walk proudly with the Austrian flag.

“Well, I think it’s a special thing to first of all, be at the World Championship, secondly complete a triathlon, and thirdly as a woman, because there are, especially in Europe, fewer women,” she said about the Ironman competition.


Kragasich will be among the more than 2,000 female triathletes who qualified for this year’s race from 70-plus countries. She and some of the other competitors will walk during the parade that starts at 5 p.m. at the Courtyard by Marriott King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel and will travel along Ali‘i Drive, ending at Hale Hālāwai.

Diana Bertsch, senior vice president for Ironman World Championship Events, said she’s anticipating an exciting Parade of Nations this year to kick off the annual triathlon during one of its most “unique years” to date.

“We’re able to make history in Kona with celebrating our first-ever, women’s-only Ironman World Championship,” she said.

The annual Parade of Nations will include athletes, dignitaries, the CEO of the Ironman World Championship, Hawai‘i County Director of Research and Development Doug Adams, Kealakehe High School’s Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program, and cultural drummers and dancers from Island Breeze.


The parade’s Grand Marshall is six-time world champion, Hall of Fame inductee Natascha Badmann. The 56-year-old, from Switzerland, won Ironman titles in 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004 and 2005.

Natascha Badmann will be this year’s 2023 VinFast Ironman World Championship’s Parade of Nations Grand Marshall. She is a six-time Ironman world champion and Hall of Fame inductee. Photo credit: Megan Moseley/Big Island Now.

Other walkers to look for this year include Julie Moss, a famous competitor who fell right before reaching the finish line and had to crawl her way to it.

“She really put Ironman on the map,” Bertsch said.

Bertsch, a former competitor who walked in previous Parade of Nations, loves to see the community embrace and welcome athletes from all over the world.


“On Tuesday, we’ll get to see them come together and march down the street as one,” she said.

Drew Wolff, Director of Operations of Ironman World Championship events, said this is his first time overseeing the Parade of Nations in Kona.

He said it’s a unique opportunity to host athletes from around the world and for the community to welcome them with open arms.

The community can share in their excitement and the journey they’ve experienced to reach this event, he said.

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The 2023 VinFast Ironman World Championship’s Parade of Nations will take place on Oct. 10 at 5 p.m. The parade, featuring female athletes from more than 70 countries, will finish at Hale Hālāwai in Kona. Megan Moseley/Big Island Now.
Megan Moseley
Megan Moseley is a full-time journalist for Pacific Media Group. Her experience ranges from long and short-form reporting to print, digital, radio and television news coverage. In Hawaiʻi, she's worked for local media outlets and has covered a wide range of topics including local and state politics, environmental affairs, Native Hawaiian issues, travel, tourism and education. She covers the West for Restaurant Hospitality.

She's a 2010 graduate of the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University, with a Bachelor's of Science degree in Magazine Journalism and specializations in Geology and History. She's currently working on her master's degree from New York University and Ohio University and is focused on conflict resolution and peace practices in indigenous cultures in the Pacific.
Megan can be reached at [email protected].
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