The 2021 IRONMAN World Championship is finally set to take place following a two year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic on May 7, 2022. However, the big difference is that this time it won’t be in its spiritual home of Kona, Hawaii.
IRONMAN announced that they would be heading to St George for the 2021 race shortly after the venue hosted the 70.3 World Championship in September last year, and elite athletes and age groupers alike are excited to return to the venue. This will serve as the first of two World Championships this year with the second taking place in Kona in October.
The big race takes place this Saturday, May 7 in St George, Utah with the Pro Men starting first at 0615am local time and the Pro Women set to follow five minutes later. Following a 20-minute gap, the Age Group waves start from 0645am.
While the dry heat of Utah in early May will not test athletes in the same way the tough conditions of Kona do, the brutal course parcours certainly will. The full-distance course in St George is one of the toughest in the world in terms of the amount of climbing athletes will have to complete, particularly during the bike leg where they will take on Snow Canyon.
In contrast to Kona, the course in St George is completely new and athletes will have no guide as to what to expect from previous years which should make for some interesting racing. Athletes who have also not enjoyed the humidity in Kona will also be looking forward to some different, dryer conditions.
With a number of athletes pulling out in the last few weeks, including Jan Frodeno, the race throws up an interesting mix of established Ironman athletes and wild cards, such as Parcours athlete Kyle Smith who could cause an upset.
The women’s race is without the likely pre-event favourite too after British star Lucy Charles-Barclay was ruled out in March with a broken hip. Germany’s Laura Philipp has also been forced to pull out this week due to COVID-19.
Parcours athletes Laura Siddall and Fenella Langridge have also had great preparation going into St George and started the season with some brilliant results. Want to get to know them better? Watch the Road2StGeorge episodes in partnership with Kogel bearings.
Catch the race live streamed by IRONMAN via Facebook Watch and YouTube.