Ironman has hinted that the World Championship – recently postponed to 22 February 2022 – could be moved out of Hawaii if the coronavirus situation there doesn’t improve.
Speaking about the challenges facing the sport’s flagship event at a press conference ahead of the 70.3 World Championship, Ironman CEO Andrew Messick said: “We’re exploring every option… that includes potentially taking the race out of Kona.”
That’s because the number of infections on the island remains high and vaccination rates remain low. And then there’s the challenges around travelling into the country, with restrictions, requirements and quarantine differing depending on where you’re travelling from.
As we’ve learned throughout the past 18 months, pandemics are not easy to predict, and it’s that uncertainty that’s causing the headache. Last year’s World Championship was also postponed to February, only to be cancelled at a later date.
Ironman will be hoping to avoid the same outcome this time around, but the difficulty is that things can change very quickly, and it’s hard to say when the situation may get better or what rules the local authorities in Hawaii will put in place.
If the race does move away from Kona, it’ll be the first time since 1981 that it’s been held in a different location.
Image credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images for Ironman