The top 1,800 triathletes from around the world (50 countries and all 50 States) converge on Kona for this Super Bowl of triathlon events; Ironman Hawaii featuring a 2.4-mile ocean swim off Kailua Pier, a 112-mile bike course to Hawi and a 26.2-mile run. This is the big one – a world-class sports event!
The top triathletes start the swim in Kailua Bay at 6:30 a.m., men first, then women, and then the “age groupers,” the everyday people. After the 2.4 mile swim, athletes hop on their bikes and ride up the always hot, generally windy Queen Kaahumanu Highway past the Waikoloa resorts, up to the small town of Hawi. After returning to Kailua Pier area, they start their 26.2-mile marathon.
The top finishers complete the event around 3:30 p.m.; the last official finisher is at midnight. Spectators may enjoy the race anywhere along the course (but note that roads around the area are closed), but being right downtown in Kailua Village is the best way to see the action.
If you have plans to be on the Big Island for this popular and very exciting event, book your hotels rooms months ahead if you want to be within walking distance of the starting and finishing point (on Ali’i Drive in Kailua town)! Many streets down Kailua town are closed for the 2-3 day event.
Each October, on the weekend nearest the full moon, more than 1500 athletes gather on the island to swim, bike and run a grueling course.