Ironman World Championships to move to Nice?

Reports emerging in Tri-Today and on Twitter from Brad Culp. Surely this will represent a massive problem for those who have already accepted slots and booked travel etc? Wonder how it will all work.

“The Ironman World Championship is moving to another location: Nice, France. At least a part of it, because starting next season, the Ironman World Championship will be held in two separate locations each year. In 2023, the men, both pros and AG, will race in Nice on Sept. 10, while the women will compete for world titles in Kona in October. A year later, in 2024, roles will be reversed and women will come to Nice, while all the men race at Kona. For at least the next few years, the men’s and women’s races will be separate and will continue to rotate between two different venues.”

wow - gonna go read the article - but at first blush I like the concept (the travel and logistics for next year aside for those who are entered)…

I have a friend (male) who just got into the legacy program for next year … sucks!!! (I guess the legacy program didn’t open last night as planned, an email went out saying it was delayed)

***after reading the article (and this is yet to be confirmed by IM) but I still like the concept in practice. I thought they would do it with Kona and STG, but I like the Europe connection with Nice (and it could rotate to other locations in the future).

I know Kona is this dream destination, but if you talk to anyone who has raced it, its not that great of a course (mostly hot highway). Also its so cost prohibitive and climate specific that it really isn’t a world championship. I think the “magic” or “mystique” can be transferred to other venues.

I think it a great move, If I was in charge, I would make Kona just part of a rotation anyway. However I am going to go text my friend who was taking his whole family over in 2023.

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I know it is expensive for North American residents to get to Kona and get accommodation, but the costs for European athletes borders on obnoxious and is a very long journey. Nice will be a hilly bike course if it’s anything like the 2019 70.3 WC, I attended to support a friend and it was a great venue. The humidity of Kona is not really replicable anywhere in Europe but I’m surprised Lanzarote hasn’t been suggested as a venue as it’s an island, windy, hot, etc etc. I think a split is good, and Europe as a continent is much more accessible with less than 5 hours getting you anywhere, including the Canary Islands.

Back in the day (80s), both Kona and Nice called themselves the “world championship”. Nice wasn’t full IM distance, but it had a proper mountain section with technical descents. Mark Allen won it a ridiculous number of times. Ironic that after all these years, the two have combined as the co-world championship course. On the other hand, Kona has always been THE queen of IM races. A lot of history will be lost with this move.

But hosting the official world championships on an island in the middle of the Pacific is exclusionary for most athletes outside North America, and favours a particular type of athlete. History has happened, it’s only lost if you let people forget it, and it’s probably time for the Ironman brand to broaden its appeal to new athletes and emerging markets so they can have a legitimate chance of competing in the official world championships as it moves around like with the 70.3 WCs.


Now confirmed by Ironman! Men who already have a slot for 2023 can elect to defer to 2024 if they want but I really feel for those who have already bought flights/accommodation in Kona! Hugely expensive if they can’t get a refund.

Yup there will be a lot of unhappy Kona qualified people who will be out of pocket in some way.

Let me qualify this by saying that

  1. I an American

  2. I am not a triathlete

But I feel like I will miss the whole Kona thing a bit. It is the only triathlon event I watch year on year and I think a big part of that is seeing both the men and women at the same time. I did not mind the heat, kind of added to the whole toughness thing.

I’m too young to remember it being anywhere else and perhaps the “it” factor will be the same somewhere else but it might also take some years. And hey, as a road cyclist I would not mind having a more interesting bike course.

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It makes sense in one respect. No legitimate World Championship would stay in the exact same location year on year.

Potentially they could improve it as an event, make it the “Ironman Championship” and reduce the field size to make it the best Ironman athletes in the world.

They’ll never do that of course, it makes them far too much money, is steeped in a lot of history, and they made a “promise” to keep it available to the everyman (person).

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Got my flight refunded and thankfully didn’t book anything else.

Pissed about how this all went down. Really double pissed for those that qualified as a couple and though they got to race Kona together and those people that have non-refundable bookings already made.

But I also think this is great for the sport long-term. The Kona course suits a particular athlete type, and rotating it means there isn’t a single mold you need to fit in to be world champion. Right now always having it at Kona would be like if the UCI worlds course was always up Alpe d’Huez.