Top Athletes From Around the World Competed on Global Stage at 2017 IRONMAN World Championship
By Dan Berglund, Photos by Donald Miralle/IRONMAN
More than 2,400 of the world’s top athletes converged in Kailua-Kona, Hawai‘i on October 14 for the most iconic one-day endurance event in the world - the 2017 IRONMAN® World Championship triathlon. For nearly four decades since 1978, IRONMAN, a Wanda Sports Holdings company, has produced this world class event, bringing the world’s best triathletes together in competition.
This year’s edition of the IRONMAN World Championship welcomed the largest international athlete field in race history with athletes hailing from 66 countries, regions and territories. Athletes ranging in age from 18 to 84 have earned their championship opportunity by qualifying at one of more than 40 IRONMAN® events worldwide.
This year, Europe represented 39 percent of the field, while North America closely followed with 37 percent of athletes registered to race in the IRONMAN World Championship. Asia-Pacific brought 17 percent of participants, with South America at five percent.
“The evolution of this race over the decades has been amazing," said Andrew Messick, Chief Executive Officer for IRONMAN. “From the most modest of beginnings, the IRONMAN World Championship has evolved into an extraordinary international event with more than 2,400 registered competitors from 66 countries around the world. These athletes have earned their slots in Kailua-Kona through extraordinary feats and deserve the right to race with the world's elite.
The United States of America was the most represented nation with 741 registered competitors, followed by Australia (234), Germany (217) and Great Britain (150). Athletes travelled from 48 U.S. states, with the greatest number coming from California (113), followed by Texas (58), Colorado (53), Hawai‘i (50) and New York (49). Others from countries as far as South Africa, Brazil and Uzbekistan travelled around the globe for their shot at the title.
Perfectly located on the west coast of the Island of Hawai‘i, Kailua-Kona offers the perfect year-round climate and is an ideal location for the iconic, single-day sporting event. The 2017 field of athletes tackled a 2.4-mile ocean swim in Kailua Bay, followed by a 112-mile bicycle ride along the Queen Ka'ahumanu Highway from Kailua-Kona to the turnaround in Hawi, capped with a 26.2-mile run beginning on Ali’i Drive, where spectators packed the roads, up Palani Road to the Queen Ka'ahumanu Highway before making their way to the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority. Athletes completed their journey to the roar of tens of thousands of spectators as they crossed the historic Ali’i Drive finish line.
Additional historical facts and stats for the 2017 IRONMAN World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawai‘i:
- This was the largest athlete field ever at the IRONMAN World Championship, with more than 2,400 competitors
- 72 percent of participants (1,762 athletes) were male
- 28 percent of participants (698 athletes) were female
- 43 was the average age of registrants this year
- Hiromu Inada (Japan) was the oldest participant at 84, while Paul Lennart (Denmark) was the youngest at 18
- 11 athletes celebrated their birthday on race day
- Over 85,000 athletes register to compete in IRONMAN races each year, representing over 90 countries, regions and territories
- Approximately 260,000 registered athletes representing over 200 countries, regions and territories competed in IRONMAN and IRONMAN® 70.3® races this year
- Five countries sent athletes to the IRONMAN World Championship for the first time, Kazakhstan, Paraguay, Serbia, Uruguay, and Uzbekistan.
- 1,001 competitors representing 390 different TriClubs from around the world raced at this year’s IRONMAN World Championship and total 40.7 percent of the field
- 1,530 athletes who raced in this year’s IRONMAN World Championship are IRONMAN All World Athletes
- Roughly 85% of the athletes who raced represent the top 10% of age group athletes in the world
- 20 new IRONMAN and IRONMAN 70.3 races were established in 2017
- More than 5,000 volunteers helped make the IRONMAN World Championship a success
Live race coverage of the 2017 IRONMAN World Championship was available on a number of platforms, including NBC Sports in the United States and Red Bull TV internationally (outside of the United States) and on www.ironman.com globally.
About IRONMAN World Championship
Since its inception in 1978 on the island of Oahu, the IRONMAN World Championship has etched its name in history through stellar performances, inspirational participants and emotional memories. In 1981, the race moved from the tranquil shores of Waikiki to the barren lava fields of Kona on the Island of Hawai`i where it continues to take place to this day. The race now sees over 2,400 athletes embark on a 140.6-mile journey that presents the ultimate test of body, mind and spirit to earn the title of IRONMAN World Champion. The most iconic one-day sporting event in the world is the culmination of 40 global IRONMAN events with athletes around the world striving for one of the coveted qualifying slots.
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