How much does it cost to race Kona?

Got your eye on qualifying for the Ironman World Championships, but wondering how much it would actually cost to do the race? Matt Baird does the sums

Credit: Getty Images

The biggest triathlon spectacle on the planet returns on 6 and 8 October, 2022 – the Ironman World Championship. So if you’re inspired to get qualifying for next year’s event, or if you’re lucky enough to have already qualified, just what kind of costs are you looking at for the trip of a lifetime?

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Unsurprisingly, Kona doesn’t come cheap, but here’s what we’ve learnt from our own past, and present, booking experiences…

Kona entry costs 

Entry for 2022’s Ironman World Championships race was $1,050 USD (about £918) plus fees.

For 2023, entry has risen to $1,400 USD plus fees (Hawaii Tax and Active fee), taking it to almost $1,600 (£1,400).

Kona travel costs 

First off, flight prices haven’t increased hugely since we last went in 2019. Back then we paid £1.2k and this year it’s £1.4k – both 20hr+, one-stop options. The cheapest prices in 2022 (still around the £1k mark), however, were flights with more than one stop and long connection times.

Back in 2019 we did an American/BA combo (including seating fees and taxes but with no hold luggage) with a night in Los Angeles, which helped with the jet lag, and a return via Phoenix.

This year, it’s a KLM/Virgin combo (again no hold luggage) with a 3hr stop in LA on the way out and a 9hr wait in Seattle on the way back. In total, it’s 20hrs out and 24hrs back.

Kona accommodation costs 

Accommodation is the other fiscal biggie, with most places around Kona town booked up quicker than a Daniela Ryf bike leg. Expect to pay around £250 per night for a double hotel room, but significantly less near the airport.

If you’re self-catering – which the majority of Kona racers will do – we were quoted £3,800 for a three-bed house for 10 days, i.e. £380 per night. Find others through social media to help split the cost.

Other Kona costs

Dinner at Huggo’s, our favourite spot in town, is about $20 for a main, with that post-race pint of Long Board Ale now coming in at $9.

Self-catering will again help reduce costs.

If you want to hire a car, expect to pay prices from approx. £1,000 for 10 days. You’re unlikely to need one in race week, though, as you can get around easily by bike.

Total Kona costs 

Race entry – £1,400 (2023 entry fees)

Flights – £1,400 (based on 2022 prices)

Accommodation – £1,200 (based on 2022 prices for a 3-bed house, split three ways, for 10 days)

Food and drink – £200 (budgeted at £20 per day if self-catering)

Total – £4,200

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Top image credit: Getty Images