2018 Ironman World Champion Daniela Ryf crossing the finish line.

2019 Ironman World Championship in Kona Hawaii

Big Island Guide Travel Guide

2019 Ironman World Championship with Big Island Guide

The 2019 Ironman World Championship is Hawaii’s 41st time hosting the event. Held annually in Kailua-Kona since 1981, the Ironman World Championship is considered the ultimate physical, mental, and emotional test of strength, resilience, and endurance in the world. With athletes ranging in age from 18-85, nearly 2,500 competitors from more than 80 countries will compete on October 12, 2019 and Big Island Guide will be there to cover the exciting event.

2019 Ironman World Championship Race Preview

The world’s best triathletes gather in Kona Hawaii each October to compete in this challenging and strenuous athletic competition. Qualification for the Ironman World Championship requires placement in other Ironman competitions or Ironman 70.3 races, of which there are more than 40 such events worldwide.

2018 Ironman World Champions Daniela Ryf & Patrick Lange

If you missed the 2018 Ironman World Championship read our recap here.

The 2019 Ironman World Championship competitors will have to work very hard to compete with last year’s, record breaking performances. The pro competitors came to Kona with ambitious goals and claimed 5 new course records in 2018. Patrick Lange claimed the overall course record, with a time of 7:52:39, marking the first sub-8-hour finish in Kailua-Kona. Daniela Ryf set a new women’s course record of 8:26:16 and a new record for the women’s bike portion of the race with a split of 4:26:07. Lucy Charles earned second place with a time of 8:36:34 also claiming the women’s course record for the swim with a split of 48:13. Cameron Wurf set a new men’s course bike record with a split of 4:09:06.

The 2019 lineup is shaping up to be an impressive field, full of strong contenders. In the women’s division, Daniela Ryf (SUI), Lucy Charles (GBR), Kaisa Sali (FIN), Sarah Crowley (AUS), Anne Haug (GER), Sarah True (USA), Mirinda Carfrae (AUS), and Heather Jackson (USA) are the names on everyone’s lips. Ryf and Charles set themselves apart during last year’s race with astonishingly fast, record breaking swim and bike splits.

We are expecting to see strong performances in the men’s division from Patrick Lange (GER), Jan Frodeno (GER), Sebastian Kienle (GER), Patrik Nilsson (SWE), Bart Aernouts (BEL), Tim O’Donnell (USA), Braden Currie (NZL), David McNamee (GBR), and Cameron Wurf (AUS). Patrick Lange and Cameron Wurf grabbed course records last year, and Jan Frodeno is back on the course after an injury sidelined him in 2018, so it should be a competitive race.

The 2019 Ironman Course in Kailua-Kona Hawaii

Held each year in Kailua-Kona on Hawaii’s Big Island, the race includes a 2.4-mile ocean swim in Kailua Bay, 112-mile bicycle race along the Queen Ka’ahumanu Highway, and finishes up back in Kailua-Kona after a 26.2-mile run. This incredible endurance test is one of the most impressive and exciting triathlon races to watch. It’s inspiring to see lifelong dreams come true and cheer on the amazing athletes who dare to challenge this brutal Ironman course.

2019 Ironman World Championship Swim, Bike and Run Course Maps

Watching the 2019 Ironman World Championship

Watching these dedicated athletes train around the Big Island in the weeks prior to The Ironman Race is always inspirational and brings to light the immense amount of work that goes into performing at the top of the sport. Their incredible displays of form and strength on race day will awe you and the tremendously competitive field will keep you guessing until the last step who will rise to victory.

For an understanding of how the race flows and how long each section takes, we can look at the men’s pro winner and his timing. Patrick Lange swam a 50:37, biked a 4:16:04, and ran a 2:41:31 for an incredible 7:52:39 finish time. Be aware that many road closures block direct paths into and out of Kona as well as all around the downtown area so getting around can take extra time. Click Here to See Previous Ironman Road Closure Information.

Swim Information
If you are here in Kona during the 2019 Ironman World Championship, then you will need to be up early to catch the start of the swim. The event kicks off  in Kailua Bay, with the pro men’s division starting first at 6:25 am and the pro women’s starting at 6:30. Then, in a change from previous years, the age group starts will roll out in waves every 5 minutes from 6:55 am – 7:30 am. The pro men will finish swimming in around 48-55 minutes and proceed to the bike race.

Parking is nuts and the best spots fill up fast on race day, so heading down as early as possible is always advised. People start staking out spots as early as 4:30 am. There are several parks in downtown Kona as well as the sea wall lining Ali’i Drive that overlook the starting point for the swim in Kailua Bay. You can line up anywhere along here for a view of the swim portion of the race.

Bike Information
The bike race immediately follows the swim and competitors leave directly from the Kailua Pier transition area, heading up Palani Road, looping around to Makala Blvd and the Kuakini Hwy then racing along the closed Queen Ka’ahumanu Highway to Hawi on the northern tip of Hawaii and back. If you want to head up to the turnaround point you would want to take the upper Mamalahoa HWY 190 to Waimea, then take the 250 cut across that takes you over Kohala mountain into Hawi.

Patrick Lange

If you’re not heading north, the best place to see the biking event is either from Palani Rd when they are leaving the pier area, along the Kuakinin HWY or along the Queen K as they head out of Kona. The pro men generally start to complete the bike portion of the race in around 4.5 hours and land back at the transition point around 11:30 am.

Run Information
The run starts from the Kailua Pier transition point and heads up Palani Rd, turning south on the Kuakini Hwy until Hualālai Rd, then continues onto Ali’i Dr for a turn around retracing it’s path back to the Queen K Hwy for the long stretch up to the airport. The racers will turn around at NELHA and then make for the home stretch back along the Queen K Hwy and the hard earned finish line on Ali’i Drive.

The men’s pro leaders will start to approach the finish around 2:15 pm. The finish to the 2019 Ironman World Championship will be an incredible event, packed with onlookers and if you want to get a glimpse of the winners, it’s best to show up early to stake out a spot.

Ironman Finish Line Map

Ironman Raceday Coverage

If you aren’t lucky enough to be in Kona for the event, there are a few ways you can see live coverage and follow along. Watch Live on Ironman Now Facebook Channel

Get more information on Ironman’s Website.

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