1 Dec 2022 by Graham Shaw
No longer will the Big Island of Hawaii host both men’s and women’s races each October. Instead the event will now be shared by two locations – Kona and a second which as yet is unnamed. Nice is heavily rumoured, but there is no official confirmation on that.
The dual location plan will start in 2023 with the women racing in Kona and the men at the second location. The following year the men will be back in Hawaii.
It’s a seismic change for the sport’s most famous race, one which many age-group and pro athletes dream of competing in. Or more specifically they dream of competing at an iconic location which is steeped in the history of long-course triathlon.
Two-time Olympic Champion Brownlee moved up to long-distance racing after claiming those two gold medals, and has long been drawn to the mystique of Kona. He was hoping to compete again in Hawaii in 2022 before injury put paid to his hopes.
Despite his fascination with Kona though the British star sees the positives which the plan can bring, particularly making the event more accessible to more people.
He told TRI247: “I’ve known about, and been enthralled by, Kona as a race for as long as I can remember. Moving the IM World Championships could be seen as undermining that; removing its gravitas and mystique.
“However, probably my strongest conviction is that the power of sport to inspire and motivate people should be as accessible as possible. Moving an event to allow more people to compete seems to be only a good thing, in my book.”
Less Kona not a bad thing
Alistair also does not believe that Kona only staging a men’s race every two years will lessen its significance. He cites the example of other sporting events – he himself is now stitched into the folklore of the most famous of all, the Olympic Games.
He went on: “And, if I didn’t believe in that sentiment, am I convinced that holding an event every two years would decrease its significance? No, of course not! For me – at least – the precedent of other, pretty large and important, sporting events suggests not.
“So, I’m looking forward to (hopefully) having two very different styles of IM World Championships to prepare for over the next two years.”