Big Island Polls

Poll results: Love it or hate it, this year’s Ironman was one to remember

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A competitor during the 2023 VinFast Ironman competition in Kona. Photo credit:Megan Moseley/Big Island Now.

Held on the Big Island for decades, the energy surrounding this year’s VinFast Ironman World Championship was different as this was the first time in the history of the Kona race that only women – from around the world – competed.

The pro athletes had nothing but well wishes for each other a couple of days before they hit the grueling 40.6-mile course starting in Kailua Bay for the 2.4-mile swim. The race continues with a 112-mile bike and a full marathon of 26.2 miles.

By early Saturday morning, spectators were lined up along Palani Road and in front of the pier, excited to watch women get the spotlight after years of sharing the race day with men.


But holding an international race comes with its drawbacks, the biggest being the road closures and the overall congestion of people who come to West Hawai‘i for the event. With the pros and cons that come with Ironman, we wanted to know what your favorite part of this year’s championship was.

At 154 votes, most chose the option: “Why is Ironman even still hosted here every year?”

Some social media commenters stated their favorite part of the race was when it was over. Facebook user KellyandGreg Goddard wrote their favorite part was that they didn’t have to drive into Kona that whole week.


Garnering 16% of the vote, 67 of the voters said their favorite part about this year’s race was women getting the spotlight with four-time runner-up Lucy Charles-Barclay of Great Britain finally taking the championship in a record-breaking time of 8:24:31.

Facebook user Jon Alford said she was grateful it was just women.

“It wasn’t ridiculously overcrowded as some years past,” Alford wrote. “I didn’t have any issues with cyclists or joggers this year traffic-wise. I didn’t see anybody using the restroom on the side of road. I feel it was well managed and reasonable for our small town.”


See the full poll results below:

  • Why is Ironman even still hosted here every year? 154 (38%)
  • The return to a one-day format: 73 (18%)
  • The women getting the spotlight all to themselves: 67 (16%)
  • None of the above: 38 (9%)
  • All of the above: 32 (7%)
  • Race day all the way — nothing else matters: 14 (3%)
  • Volunteering to help with the race and other associated events: 9 (2%)
  • Getting to know some of the people visiting from around the world: 8 (1%)
  • Some of the above: 5 (1%)
  • The associated events such as Parade of Nations and 2023 Kona Underpants Run: 4 (0%)

Total votes: 404

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