Triathletes run along a seafront promenade lined with palm trees

On September 10, Nice, France will take centre stage of the triathlon world when it welcomes over 2,200 registered athletes to participate in the men’s edition of the 2023 VinFast IRONMAN® World Championship triathlon.

For the first time in the event’s 40-plus year history, the 2023 VinFast IRONMAN World Championship triathlon will take place in two locations with the men’s field racing on the Côte d’Azur. The women’s field will line up in Kailua-Kona, Hawai`i on October 14.

Regional representation at the 2023 VinFast IRONMAN World Championship triathlon sees Europe lead the way with 54 percent* of athletes registered to race and North America with the second most, accounting for 25 percent of athletes. Latin America and Asia follows with 6 percent each. Oceania will add just over 4 percent to the field, while Africa and the Middle East will make up the final 4 percent to complete the athlete field for the 2023 edition of the event.

The United States of America is the most represented nation with 480 registered athletes, followed by Germany (249), France (210), United Kingdom (193), and Australia (89). Other athletes from countries as far as Indonesia, El Salvador, Kazakhstan, Uruguay, and Zimbabwe are traveling from around the globe to race the 2023 VinFast IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship triathlon.

Other notable age-group athletes competing at the 2023 VinFast IRONMAN World Championship include:

  • Ryuji Nakagawa (JPN) will represent as the oldest competitor at 79-years young, while Nicholas Catullo (USA) will be the youngest male competitor at the Vinfast IRONMAN World Championship at 18 years old.
  • Nicholas (USA) & Chris Catullo (USA) are a father and son team. Nicholas’s journey to the VinFast IRONMAN World Championship began years ago when he first discovered his passion for racing triathlons. Supported by his father, Chris, who himself has been a seasoned triathlete for many years, Nicholas’s dreams of competing at the pinnacle of triathlon events seemed within reach. Chris has run through the arch in numerous IRONMAN triathlons before, but the 2023 Athletic Brewing IRONMAN Lake Placid triathlon was Nicholas’s first ever IRONMAN triathlon. Nicholas Catullo’s achievement as one of the youngest athletes ever to qualify for the VinFast IRONMAN World Championship serves as an inspiration to young athletes worldwide. Moreover, Chris Catullo’s remarkable feat at the age of 52 showcases that age should never be a barrier to pursuing one’s dreams.
  • Marc Clough (GBR) has been a fighter since his birth. Born with a brain AVM rupture causing hemorrhaging in his brain, Clough has never let that slow him down. He has completed nine IRONMAN triathlons even after having a third of his brain removed through two cranial operations. He is excited to finish his 10th IRONMAN competition at this year’s IRONMAN World Championship in Nice.
  • Michael Collins (USA) is the son of John and Judy Collins, the couple behind the original IRONMAN in 1978. He competed in his first IRONMAN triathlon in 1979, the year after the inaugural race. His parents wouldn’t let him start in 1978 because he had a high school swim meet on race morning.  Michael lives and works in Salem, Oregon and has completed numerous IRONMAN and IRONMAN 70.3 events and will look to continue further his family’s legacy when he competes in first IRONMAN World Championship event to be co-hosted in France this September.
  • Gordon Haller (USA) became the first athlete to finish an IRONMAN Triathlon when he completed the first edition of the iconic race in 1978. The event would evolve into what has become the iconic IRONMAN World Championship. Since then, Gordon has completed 23 IRONMAN races, 18 of which were IRONMAN World Championship races. Gordon has continued to race and coach triathletes over the years and remains an inspiration for all athletes who have ever crossed an IRONMAN finish line.
  • Dale Mackey (CAN) was born in Saskatchewan, Canada and knew from an early age that he was destined for the kitchen. He traveled the world, working his way through the kitchens of Gordon Ramsay and Daniel Boulud for a decade before winning the first season of “Top Chef Canada.” Following his time on the show, he moved back to Saskatoon. Over the past eight years, he and longtime co-worker and business partner Christopher Cho have opened five award-winning restaurants in Saskatchewan under Grassroots Restaurant Group. Featuring Japanese, Korean and French influences. A Dad to his son Ayden, Mackey enjoys spending his free time cooking together, watching movies at home, training and racing in triathlons. Always testing his competitive side, Dale has also appeared on “Iron Chef Gauntlet,” “Fire Masters,” and “Wall of Chefs.”
  • Noel Mulkey (USA) will tell you he is a former overweight drug addict who found a love for triathlon and turned his life around because of it. At his worst, he would regularly spend $500 a day on heroin until checking into a clinic with the support of his family to begin a much-desired recovery. In an effort to lose the weight gained after replacing his substance urges with food, Noel made the decision to begin living a healthier lifestyle. He took up running, even averaging 60 to 70 miles a week which led to the decision to mix it up with swimming and biking. Discovering triathlon, Noel had turned his life around for the better racing multiple IRONMAN 70.3 events, qualifying for the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship and even finishing his first IRONMAN in Panama City Beach in the fall of 2020. Always open to sharing his experience, Noel continues to document his day-to-day training on social media. After the pandemic hit, he picked up TikTok even amassing over 1.5 million followers while sharing his training routine which often includes waking up at 3:30 a.m., setting off on 60-mile indoor bike rides and four-mile runs — accomplishing all before noon each day.
  • Cyril Del Pistoia (USA) is a triathlete born in Nice, France that is currently living in Los Angeles, USA. In 2012, Cyril was diagnosed with a severe case of acute leukemia and was given a very low chance of survival. Chemotherapy worked for a while, but it was not enough, and he was referred to partake in an experimental treatment: radiotherapy and later a bone marrow transplant. He had to relearn how to walk and was left with damaged lungs amongst other long-term effects. Five years later, inspired by IRONMAN triathlons as the ultimate test of human endurance, Cyril completed a makeshift long-distance triathlon with his best friend. Last year, to mark ten years after his transplant and to honor his dad who had died the year before, Cyril completed the IRONMAN France Nice triathlon. He represented Team France at the World Transplant Games (recognized by the International Olympic Committee) for triathlon in Perth earlier this year, winning his age group. He is also a member of the International Athlete Advisory Commission to advise on the sport and make it more open to people with disabilities like himself. Cyril is looking forward to travelling back to his birthplace this year to participate in the VinFast IRONMAN World Championship saying, “This means the world to me. Nice happens to be my birthplace, and competing in an IRONMAN event in Nice has been a dream for a long time.”
  • Elmar Sprink (DEU) is considered the fittest heart transplanted person in the world. For almost nine years, the East Westphalian has been on the road with a donor heart – as a triathlete, trail runner, mountain biker, mountain climber, snowboarder, skier, and surfer.

The 2023 VinFast IRONMAN World Championship in Nice will kick off with the 2.4-mile (3.8km) ROKA Swim Course, which takes place in blue Mediterranean waters of Baie des Anges. Athletes will then embark on the scenic and challenging 112-mile (180.2km) FULGAZ® Bike Course follows which through the hinterland of Nice via the beautiful hillside villages. Athletes will enjoy the picturesque views of the Alpes-Maritimes region on the ascent and then have an opportunity to take in Clues de Gréolières on their descent. Along with stunning coastline, and charming villages, the course also features challenging climbs and technical descents with elevation gains of up to 7,900 ft. (2400 meters). The four-loop 26.2-mile (42.2km) HOKA Run Course spans end to end of the iconic Promenade des Anglais, passing alongside the famous beach clubs, the Chaises Bleues (blue chairs), and the monumental Negresco Hotel, all with the Mediterranean Sea as a backdrop. With each loop, competitors will experience the energy of the crowd as they tackle the flat, fast course, and push their limits culminating in a World Class finish line experience.

Over the years Nice and the Cote d’Azur have staked a claim as a major sporting destination, hosting many sports events of a global scale. As the capital of the Alpes-Maritimes on the French Riviera in the southeast coast of France, Nice became the birthplace of long-distance triathlon in Europe in 1982 when it first hosted the “Triathlon International de Nice”. From 1994-2002, Nice was host to the ITU Long Distance Triathlon World Championships five times. The iconic triathlon became an IRONMAN event in 2005 and Nice has been one of the most popular locations on the IRONMAN race circuit, hosting both IRONMAN France, IRONMAN 70.3 Nice France, as well as hosting the pinnacle event in the IRONMAN 70.3 Series, the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship in 2019.

Additional historical facts and stats on the field competing in the 2023 VinFast IRONMAN World Championship men’s race in Nice France, Finland:

  • Nice, France will become the 1st co-host of the VinFast IRONMAN World Championship, 1st international location, and the 4th venue to host the iconic race, after Oahu and Kona, Hawai`i and St. George, Utah.
  • Ryuji Nakagawa (JPN) is the oldest male participant at 79, while Nicholas Catullo (USA) is the youngest at 18
  • 44 is the average age of all registrants
  • 4 athletes will be celebrating their birthdays on race day
  • 93 Countries, regions and territories are represented, with top five being the United States, Germany, France, United Kingdom and Australia
  • 43 U.S. states are accounted for, with top five states in athlete count being, California, Texas, Florida, New York, and Colorado
  • 1,269 athletes racing in this year’s VinFast IRONMAN World Championship triathlon are IRONMAN All World Athletes™
  • 42 qualifying races from around the globe in 2022 and 2023 enabled athletes to reach the VinFast IRONMAN World Championship
  • Approximately 1,700 volunteers will help make the VinFast IRONMAN World Championship men’s race in Nice successful in 2023.

*Percentages rounded, approximate