The 2021 Ironman World Championships will be held Saturday morning in St. George, Utah. There is a lot to unravel in this bizarre proposition, as almost everything that happens in connection with this event, which usually takes place in October, in Konya, on the Big Island of Hawaii, is a bit out of sync.
So let’s try to cover a few basics here:
When is the Ironman World Cup?
The 2021 Ironman World Cup (yes, 2021) is on Saturday, May 7th.
The 2022 Iron Man World Championships are properly planned in Hawaii in early October.
How do I watch this weekend race?
The race will be broadcast live on the IronmanNow Facebook page at 7:30 a.m. East. It will also be broadcast live on Peacock from 8am East.
How long has Iron Man been around?
The Ironman Triathlon is a beast: 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike segment and standard 26.2 mile marathon.
Wait a minute. Why is the 2021 event being held now? 2022 is not the year?
The pandemic that caused all the turmoil in the sports schedule was a special challenge for Ironman.
An organization that carries out triathlons at various distances around the world throughout the year, the global race had to be stopped for months. The 2020 World Cup was also to be canceled.
This is no small matter as the athletes devote their years of their lives to training in Konya, where the race has been going on for years. Ironman had hoped to host the 2021 World Cup in October last year, but the rise of Covid-19 thwarted those plans. Fortunately, St. George, the venue for the popular half-time World Championship in September, has offered to host the postponed 2021 Ironman Championship this weekend. In addition to the elites, the race will feature triathletes who qualified for the tournament in 2019, with around 3,000 athletes from 80 countries, regions and territories expected to start.
“It was a unique opportunity to do something different and make sure we offered racing to athletes who were suspended and then told to train and then suspended again,” said Diana Bertch, senior vice-president of the World Championships. In Ironman.
Have you ever been to the Ironman World Championships outside of Hawaii?
No. The event has been held in Hawaii since 1978 and in Kailua-Kona since 1981.
So how is this race different from all other Ironman World Championships?
The distance is the same as always, but the similarity almost ends here.
The Kona race begins in the salty waters of the ocean, which is about 79 degrees in October. The St. George Swim will be held at the Sand Hollow Reservoir. Fresh water was 59 degrees this week. Bertch said he expects to allow athletes to wear wet costumes, which is not the case in Konya.
The cult challenges of the Kona course include intense humidity, averaging 86 percent, and hot winds of up to 60 miles per hour blowing through the lava fields.
A characteristic feature of the Utah course is the bike ride, which includes several brutal climbs in the snow canyon. This is a spectacular stretch of course for athletes, but as Bertch said, “I’m not sure how many of them are looking around and looking at the scenery at the moment.”
The bike segment includes climbing 7,300 feet, about 1,500 feet more than the Cone course, according to Ironman. The marathon has an altitude of 1400 feet, compared to 900 in Konya.
Will it be good and cool in the Utah mountains compared to the Hawaiian lava fields?
Not so much. The forecast may change rapidly in this part of Utah, but now it is around 90 and windy. It will be dry heat though. The average humidity at this time of year is 26 percent, which can be less outrageous during a 140.6 mile race than the humidity suppression.
Who are the favorites to win?
It could be any race where many of the best triathletes came out.
German Jan Frodeno, the reigning world champion considered one of the greats of the sport, left last month with a minor partial rupture of his Achilles tendon.
“Now is the time to play a little safer,” Frodeno wrote on Instagram. “My dream is still to get to the Big Island of Hawaii and have a really great race there.”
Following Frodeno’s speech, the focus will shift to two Norwegians, Christian Blumenfelt, an Olympic champion, and Gustav Eden, a two-time half-time Ironman world champion.
On the women’s side, Anne Hague, the 2019 world champion, will try to defend the title. Also on the starting line will be Swiss Daniela Raif, four-time world champion from 2015 to 2018. Britain’s Lucy Charles Barclay was an early favorite as the reigning Half-Blood Man World Champion, an event he won in St. George last September. But he pulled out in March with a hip fracture.
On Monday, Laura Philippe, the 2021 Ironman European Champion, came out after a positive test on Covid-19. “This is a nightmare!” He wrote on Instagram. “After 2.5 years of waiting for the big race, now I’m stopped by the virus.”
That being said, racing should have lots of surprises. Because there has not been a complete Iron Man in St. George for a decade, there is no clear strategy for managing a race like Konya. This World Cup can be given to an athlete who has some strengths.
Then they do everything again in October in Konya.