IRONMAN today announced changes to the 2021 and 2022 editions of the IRONMAN® 70.3® World Championship based on the continued global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Travel and border restrictions are expected to prevent as many as half of the athlete field from being able to attend the 2021 Intermountain Healthcare IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship presented by Utah Sports Commission in St. George, Utah. As a result, the race will shift to a single-day event with both men and women racing on Saturday, September 18. Additionally, the 2022 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship that was set to be held in Taupō, New Zealand will also now be held in St. George, Utah, giving the travel-restricted athlete community an opportunity to race in the ‘Land of Endurance’ with a two-day format from October 28-29, 2022.
“We have continued to monitor border and travel restrictions closely, and it is increasingly clear that these restrictions are not likely to be relaxed in time for most international athletes to be able to race in St. George,” said Andrew Messick, President & Chief Executive Officer for The IRONMAN Group. ““We have a special host partner in St. George and its surrounding communities, and we are looking forward to being able to host a full international two-day race in 2022.”
“Navigating the twists and turns of a global pandemic has been daunting, but at every turn our community has been able to look around the corner and find a positive path to a brighter horizon,” said Kevin Lewis, Director of the Greater Zion Convention & Tourism Office. “The dedication and commitment that the IRONMAN team has made to ensure success is inspiring. Working together, we’ve put together what will be an amazing world championship event this September, and we are thrilled at the opportunity to host the world here again in 2022.”
New Zealand remains a storied and special destination for The IRONMAN Group events, and despite the current uncertainties related to border and travel restrictions, both New Zealand and IRONMAN officials are committed to discussing how to bring the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship event to Taupō in a future year, giving the world’s top athletes the ability to enjoy a World Championship experience in this unique destination that has embraced The IRONMAN Group events for more than 35 years.
“I think it’s important to look at it from how big an impact COVID-19 is having across the globe – particularly with the new Delta strain – and understand that having a longer lead-in time will actually allow us to host more athletes. As the world opens up in the next few years, athletes will have more events across the world to qualify for the world championship,” said Mayor of Taupō David Trewavas. “We are working closely with our stakeholders and IRONMAN to come up with a new date as quickly as possible. This is a huge event for us – and we are really looking forward to finally being able to showcase our district to the world and reap the rewards that this international event will have for us here.”
The previously announced 2023 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship taking place in Lahti, Finland will continue as planned.
Registered athletes can visit www.ironman.com/703-wc-deferral for more information on what options they have with consideration to their geographical location.