The 2012 Ironman(r) World Championship presented by myList is set to take place Saturday, October 13. The heart of race activities is at Kailua Pier and on Ali’i Drive. Nearly 2,000 athletes from 50 states and 64 countries will take part in this year’s event, which includes a 2.4-mile swim in Kailua Bay, a 112-mile bike ride to Hawi, and a full marathon through West Hawaii.
This year’s field is packed with compelling stories including the fact that 53% of the competitors will be competing in Kona for the first time (1,086 participants) – 71% of those first timers are men and 29% are female. With a field of athletes ranging in age from 19 to 82, competitors have qualified for the Ironman World Championship one of five ways: by earning a slot at one of the qualifying events held worldwide, by being selected in the Ironman Lottery Program, by winning a slot through Ironman’s charitable eBay Auction, through the Ironman Legacy Program or via a new program introduced this year called Kona Inspired, where fans voted on eight inspirational athletes who submitted compelling stories telling why they should go to Kona.
The Ironman World Championship is not only a significant athletic event—for Hawaii Island it’s a significant boost to the economy at a time when otherwise, tourism would be slow to nonexistent. Hotels are full, restaurants and stores have almost more business than they can handle. This year’s Ironman has around 21,000 visitors on the island. Ironman says the total economic boost to the state is around $26 million.
Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi will be part of the festivities. He says Ironman is a significant boost to Hawaii Island’s economy at a time of the year when it’s most needed. He will fire the cannon to start the race—the pros start at 6:30 a.m., first men then women, and the amateurs, also called age-groupers, start at 7 a.m. Mayor Kenoi will then be at the finish line to welcome the first male and the first female finishers, usually between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. He will also congratulate the final finisher at midnight.
The Ironman is a 2.4-mile swim in Kailua Bay, a 112-mile bike ride up to Hawi and back, and a 26.2-mile marathon that takes athletes down Ali’I Drive, out to the Natural Energy Lab, and back to the finish line on Ali’I Drive. Competitors have to finish each segment within a designated amount of time, or they cannot continue. The official end of the race is at midnight. Conditions are expected to be hot and windy.
Roads will be closed throughout the West side of the island much of the day, from Kahakai Estates south of Kailua-Kona, along Queen Ka’ahumanu Highway from Palani Road to Kawaihae, and on Akoni Pule Highway to Hawi.
Here’s the official schedule for Friday and Saturday:
Friday, October 12
8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. IRONMAN Race Office – King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel (KBH)
9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. IRONMAN Village Expo and Official IRONMAN Store – Hale Halawai, Ali’i Drive
9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Official IRONMAN Store – KBH
9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. Physically Challenged Athlete Meeting – KBH Paddlers Restaurant
Bike/Helmet/Gear Check-In: Bike Compound Area, Kailua Pier
Noon – 2:30 p.m. Race #1 to #1000
2:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. Race #1001 to #2000+
Saturday, October 13 RACE DAY
4:45 a.m. Swim Check-In/Body Marking – KBH Parking Lot
6:30 a.m. Race Start – Male Professional/Elite Athletes
6:35 a.m. Race Start – Female Professional/Elite Athletes
7:00 a.m. Race Start – Age Groupers
7:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. Official IRONMAN Store – KBH
7:00 p.m. Bike & Gear Pick-Up (no earlier than 7:00 p.m. and no later than Midnight)
Midnight Race Officially Ends