Ironman World Championship moves to wave starts

The Ironman World Championship will implement wave starts this year to reduce "peak athlete density flowing onto the bike course."

| June 10, 2019 | NEWS

The mass start at the Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.

The mass start at the Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.

Photo >Frank Wechsel / spomedis

We've all seen the pictures of the huge groups of riders on the Queen K as the best triathletes in the world surge out onto the bike course after finishing the swim at the Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. With so many of the world's top age groupers finishing the swim within minutes of each other, the congestion on the bike course has only been getting worse over the years.

Wave Starts

Starting this year Ironman will seek to alleviate those issues in Kona by sending the race off in 11 waves. There will be no changes to the start times for the pro men and women - the pro men will head off at 6:25 AM, followed by the pro women at 6:30. The PC/ open exhibition and handcycle divisions will leave at 6:35. The first age group wave will start at 6:55.
 
“The swim start change is a reflection of, and reaction to, the extraordinary ability of our Ironman World Championship athletes,” said Andrew Messick, Ironman president & CEO in a press release. “While we appreciate the simplicity and iconic visual of the mass start, our primary responsibility is to create a fair race for all athletes. A single start each for age-group men and age-group women creates too much density on the bike course.”

The cut off times for the race remain unchanged: 2:20 for the swim, 10:30 for the bike and 17 hours for the finish.
 

A pack out on the course at the 2018 Ironman World Championship.

A pack out on the course at the 2018 Ironman World Championship.

Photo >Frank Wechsel / spomedis

“We are always looking for ways to improve the quality of our events in an effort to create a fair, safe and world-class experience for our competitors who work so hard to get to this start line,” said Diana Bertsch, Ironman's senior vice president of world championship events in the same press release.“The Ironman World Championship is the pinnacle of endurance racing and our belief is that this change will allow for the highest competition to occur while enhancing the quality of the race.”
 

Wave starts for the Ironman World Championship

Start Time

Group

6:25

Pro Men

6:30

Pro Women

6:35

PC Open / Handcycle

6:55

M18-39

7:00

M40-44

7:05

M45-49

7:10

M50+

7:15

F18-39

7:20

F40-54

7:25

F55+

7:30

Legacy athletes

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