For the first time ever there will have been two Ironman World Championships within the same year in different locations.
The rescheduled 2021 championships took place in St George, Utah, on 7 May, and provided two pro races for the ages when Kristian Blummenfelt charged to a debut victory and Daniela Ryf collected her fifth world title.
But it still wasn’t Kona, the birthplace of triathlon and the ultimate bucket list race for all long-distance athletes.
So it comes as no surprise that the multisport world is counting down the days, hours, minutes and seconds until the championships return to Kona, Hawaii, on 6-8 October after a three-year absence.
And this year, fans and athletes alike are being treated to a two-day affair, with the women’s pro and age-group waves racing on the 6th and the men’s pro and age-group waves on the 8th.
Here’s everything you need to know to catch all the action from the 2022 Ironman World Championship.
The 2022 Ironman World Championship schedule
Thursday, 6 October 2022
6:25am – Professional Women
6:27am – PC/HC Athletes
6:30am – Women 30-34
6:35am – Women 35-39
6:40am – Women 40-44
6:45am – Women 18-29
6:50am – Women 45-49
6:55am – Women 50-54
7:00am – Women 55+
7:25am – Men 65+
7:30am – Men 60-64
7:35am – Men 50-54
7:40am – Men 25-29
Saturday, 8 October 2022
6:25am – Professional Men
6:40am – Men 35-39
6:50am – Men 30-34
7:05am – Men 40-44
7:20am – Men 45-49
7:35am – Men 55-59
7:40am – Men 18-24
Who is racing the 2022 Ironman World Championship in Kona?
The men’s pro race
With Jan Frodeno – the last men’s winner of the Kona-held Ironman World Championship – out with injury, the focus is now firmly on reigning champ Blummenfelt, who’s made it more than clear he’s after Frodeno’s Kona course record to add to his St. George one from May.
And few would argue with the Norwegian’s ambition, given he already holds the Olympic title, the World Triathlon title, the world’s fastest Ironman time record, the Ironman world title and he won the Sub7 Project in June.
So who might spoil his day? Teammate and reigning 70.3 world champ Gustav Iden clocked a 7:42:56 in Florida this year and got the better of his more successful compatriot at the 100km PTO Canadian Open in July.
Alistair Brownlee broke the British Ironman record with a 7:38:47 in Ironman Sweden in August and with it bagged his slot to his second Kona outing. Although desperate to finally make his mark on the Big Island after a disappointing debut place of 21st in 2019, he has since sadly announced that he is out for the rest of the season with injury.
Brit hopes now lie solely with Joe Skipper – who recently bossed Ironman Wales after making up a 23min deficit following a bike mechanical. He’ll be eyeing up another podium place after finishing a Kona-best sixth in 2019 – and David McNamee, GB’s most successful male triathlete in Kona with two third places.
Magnus Ditlev’s 7:35:48 at July’s Challenge Roth caught people’s attention, as it was only 9secs off the long-course record set by Frodeno in 2016. Could we see yet another German male top the podium?
The women’s pro race
Swiss superstar Ryf will be racing with the target on her back, hoping to bag her sixth Kona title to match Natascha Badmann’s record. While GB’s Lucy Charles-Barclay will be eyeing up that top spot after an agonising three runner-up spots.
But challenging her for the top GB Kona female title will be the 2021 Ironman Worlds runner-up and Sub8 winner, Kat Matthews.
The last female Kona winner and this year’s Roth winner, Anne Haug, will also be hoping to make it two from two on the Big Island.
The Ironman World Championship course
With its brutal heat, pummelling winds and gruelling hills, Kona is a place where anything can happen – and usually does.
The 3.8km swim is a straight out-and-back in the bay, the only distraction coming from the occasional inquisitive marine life – not sharks, no competitor has even been nipped, just stung, as jellyfish have been know to disrupt the flow.
Daniela Ryf even suffered a particularly bad jellyfish attack in 2018. Don’t be deterred though, she still went on to break the course record that day.
Most people look at the elevation profile of the 180km bike course and think that the 19km climb up to the turnaround point is the make-or-break point. But looks are deceiving, and the actual determinant is an invisible enemy.
By the time the competitors are well on their way to T2, they’ll be pedalling against those pesky headwinds. Out on the highway, with the sun nearing its peak and not a drop of shade to be found, disaster can lurk behind every lava rock.
The 42.2km run is rolling, with some steep parts that are actually faster to walk up. From 22-30km is where you start getting the clearest indications of the finishing positions.
Check out the full course route here.
How to watch the 2022 Ironman World Championships
With the UK being 11 hours ahead of Hawaii, it’s difficult for British tri fans to know what happens when. No worries – we’ve got you covered!
Start timings for all the pro and age-group waves are above. If you’re in the USA you can watch all the action on the NBC Sports platform. Global audiences can watch live, for free, via Ironman’s Facebook page IronmanNow and their YouTube channel.
Top image credit: Image credit: Delly Carr/Ironman