TOP LIVE EVENTS
The Ironman World Championship takes place in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii in October each year and is by some margin the highlight of the annual global triathlon calendar, including all of the top athletes who have competed throughout the year to make the qualification criteria and watched by crowds of thousand along the course route itself and by an audience of millions via live TV coverage and online streaming around the world.
This really is the pinnacle of the career of a professional triathlete, and one of the most competitive and challenging endurance events you will find anywhere on the planet. If I had to choose just one triathlon event to visit and watch in person then this would definitely have to be the one, with the fantastic beachfront location being in this case only aprt of the reason!
Organised by the World Triathlon Corporation, the event has been held in Hawaii each year since its inception in 1978, and alongside the prestige and recognition also carries significant financial rewards for the successful athletes, with a prize fund well in excess of half a million dollars, which makes it a big potential chunk of the non-sponsorship earnings for the top triathletes.
The course, as you would expect, is one of the most challenging triathlon routes for any event, not least due to the added pressure of a crowded start line with thousands of spectators, sports journalists and TV helicopter jostling for position.
The course is as follows:
-2.4 miles in a loop around Kailua Bay
-112 miles, starting out north along the Queen Ka'ahumanu Highway, turnaround at Hawi then back to the transition area via Makala Boulevard
-26.2 miles, through town then along Ali'i Drive, the long climb up Palani Road back to the Queen Ka'ahumanu Highway then to the Natural Energy Laboratory Hawaii Authority before returing to the finish line at Kailua BVay via the Queen Ka'ahumanu Highway once more.
See the full route maps for the entire course on the official site here:
There used to be some difficulty finding live coverage of the Ironman World Championship from Hawaii but that has changed dramatically in recent years, with the event's increasing popularity reflected in the range of coverage options, several of which are also now available as online streams.
The best starting point is the official Ironman website, who as well as streaming the race live also provide decent coverage of the buildup too, as well as the live athlete tracker to keep on eye on the progress of individual participants:
Live coverage begins on Saturday morning at approximately 6:25am Hawaii time.
To follow events on Twitter or Instagram the official hashtag is #IMKona
Another idea, not so much for the race itself, but to check out the local scenery and weather conditions, is to keep an eye on the local webcam views, there's quite a few in decent positions scattered around the islands:
This cam in particular is worth watching, to see the runners on the Ali'i Drive section of the race:
If you're in Hawaii for the triathlon and planning on spending some time around the area then you'll be pleased by the wide range of accommodation provided by what is essentially a holiday destination.
You can check out availability and make online reservations for local hotels here.
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