Kona age-groupers to get staggered swim starts this October

Age-group field at this year’s Ironman World Championship to get two separate starts, as organisers try to reduce bottlenecks heading into T1

Athletes wait to start swim at Ironman World Championship in Hawaii

After years of debate, it’s been confirmed that age-groupers at this year’s Ironman World Championship in Hawaii will finally be getting their own staggered swim starts.

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The men’s age-group race will start at 6:50am on 11 October, with the women’s age-group field starting ten minutes later. These new start times will not change the existing cut-offs for Kona, of 2:20hrs for the swim, 10:30hrs for the bike, and a final finish inside 17 hours. 

“We are always looking for ways to improve our event and this change is the next progression, given how competitive the athlete field is at the starting line in Kailua-Kona,” said Diana Bertsch, a senior Ironman exec.

New prize purses

Ironman has also decided to change the professional prize purse for 2015, upping total winnings to $5m and reducing the number of pro races being held in the Americas in order to create bigger pro prize purses. What’s more, the race organisers have also tweaked the race schedule to encourage more head-to-head competition between pro athletes.

“This is a philosophical and concentrated move to provide our professional athletes with a competitive calendar and to help build rivalry and competition, while generating excitement around the races,” said CEO Andrew Messick. “This has been an important change that we have been working towards for the past six months.” 

New regional championships

Finally, Ironman has also decided to make Ironman Texas the North American Championship event for 2015 – after two years of running it in Mont Tremblant – and has named Ironman Brazil as the official Ironman Latin American Championship.

Other regional championships remain unchanged for next year: Melbourne will continue to host the Asia-Pacific Championship, Frankfurt will host the European champs, the 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championship will stay in Auckland, the 70.3 European Championship will be held in Wiesbaden, Panama will host the 70.3 Latin American Pro Championships, and St. George will remain the 70.3 North American Pro Championship. 

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Do you think it’s a good idea to stagger the age-group swim start in Kona? Let us know in the comments below!