Course and community enhancements for Vinfast IRONMAN World Championship 2022

IRONMAN reveals course and community enhancements in anticipation of return to Kailua-Kona for 2022 Vinfast IRONMAN World Championship

As part of the return to Kailua-Kona, Hawai`i Island after a three-year hiatus, IRONMAN announced course modifications and community enhancements to the 2022 VinFast IRONMAN® World Championship triathlon. The course and transition adjustments are aimed to increase accessibility and traffic flow for the Kailua-Kona community and other parts of the Big Island of Hawai`i during race week, while also further showcasing the athletes for those who want to watch key moments of the race.  

For the first time in the event’s history, the 2022 VinFast IRONMAN World Championship will take place as a two-day event on Thursday, Oct. 6 & Saturday, Oct. 8, 2022, with over 5,000 athletes registered to take on the ultimate test of body, mind, and spirit. The IRONMAN `Ohana will unite in Kailua-Kona to Kū Like (stand together) at the 2022 VinFast IRONMAN World Championship in support of the world’s elite triathletes embarking on the journey of a lifetime, while they Live Aloha, acting mindfully and with respect of the lands, people, and culture that make the event possible.  

New for the 2022 VinFast IRONMAN World Championship, portions of the bike and run course have been modified to better optimize community traffic flow and involvement. Athletes will utilize the southbound lanes of the Queen Ka`ahumanu Highway from Palani Road to Kaiminani Parkway for both the bike and the run course, while the northbound lanes from Palani Road to Kaiminani Parkway will now be open to public traffic. Most notably, this adjustment will allow for greater accessibility to the Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keahole while maintaining the highway as part of the bike and run course. To monitor the flow of traffic, more than 100 police officers will be managing key intersections along the course to keep vehicles and cyclists in their respective lanes.  

Enhancing the opportunity to view the professional athletes, their transition area will be moved off the pier to a new location on Ali`i Drive, in close proximity to the Finish Line structure. Not only does this further feature the professionals during critical portions of the race, but this adjustment allows for age group athletes to be better spaced on the pier. Additionally, the mount line for athletes to start the bike will be moved 130 yards with the turnaround point for the bike leg in Hawi accordingly moved 130 yards. Additional changes to the 2022 VinFast IRONMAN World Championship venue include mile one of the bike leg in which athletes will take a small one-block detour around the Target Center; this allows for greater community access to the old airport and the addition of more parking and one of two new shuttle locations for the race. 

“As we prepare to welcome back athletes from around the globe, it is our goal to be good stewards and create a world-class experience for all involved, whether they are an athlete, spectator, or resident of Hawai`i Island,” said Diana Bertsch, Senior Vice President of World Championship Events for The IRONMAN Group. “These adjustments to the event course were made with both the community and athlete in mind and allow for increased community accessibility while maintaining an exceptional race experience for athletes.”  

Spectators can catch the race action from several areas and hot corners along the swim, bike and run course. For spectator hot spots, see page 9 of the IRONStuff Guide. Additionally, continuous shuttle service for athletes, spectators, and volunteers will be provided Oct. 5 – 8. The Keauhou to Kona Shuttle Service will be offered along Ali`i Drive from Keauhou Shopping Center to Hale Halawai Park between 3:45 AM – 7:00 AM on both race days. The Kona Area Shuttle Service will be offered on both race days from 3:00 AM to 1:30 AM, running between Old Kmart Parking Lot and Lanihau Center and on non-race days, Wednesday and Friday, from 7:30 AM to 7:00 PM, running between Old Airport Park and Tony Honda. For Shuttle Service maps and details, see page 10 of the IRONStuff Guide.  

For athletes’ safety and in the spirit of Live Aloha, IRONMAN reminds all athletes to read and familiarize themselves with the pre-race training rules, regulations, and tips, which can be found in the 2022 IRONStuff Guide. These include following the local regulations of the road by cycling with the direction of traffic, wearing a light or reflectors at night, being cautious to parked cars, driveways, runners and walkers, stop-and-go traffic, and minimal or no shoulder areas, and adhering to guidance on refraining from cycling on the roads south of Kona town. Runners and walkers should proceed against traffic when there is no sidewalk and align single file on the shoulder of the road.  

Athletes registered for Saturday’s IRONMAN World Championship may not train on any portion of the IRONMAN World Championship race course Thursday, Oct. 6, except they may swim on the swim course after 11:00 AM and may run on the Ali`i Dr. section of the run course before 11:00 AM. Registered athletes caught violating this rule risk disqualification. The local laws and guidelines should be followed throughout the duration of the visit, starting before the race when athletes arrive on the Island to train and prepare and extending after the race, for any training beyond the race days. 

From Wednesday, Sept. 28 through Tuesday, Oct. 4 a VinFast IRONMAN World Championship Information booth will be open located at the Kailua Pier. Additionally, a road closure hotline has been set up and will be open from Sept. 28 – Oct. 9 by calling, (808) 334-3400. Motorists are reminded to please allow for extra time to get to your destination throughout race week. IRONMAN will also be staffing a Kokua Patrol who will be out in the community through race week to ensure athletes are educated on how to follow local laws while training, in addition to providing them with assistance when in need. Additional details on the 2022 VinFast IRONMAN World Championship course and traffic flow are now available by visiting, www.ironman.com/kona-community.  

For more information about the 2022 VinFast IRONMAN World Championship event, please visit www.ironman.com/im-world-championship.

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