– More than 20,000 athletes, family, friends, volunteers and staff are expected
– Athletes on average stay more than six nights on the Hawaiian Islands
There is little question the iconic IRONMAN® World Championship, held annually in Kailua-Kona, Hawai`i, is in a league of its own among globally recognized sporting events. Once again, history is expected to be made as approximately 2,500 of the world’s best triathletes descend on the Kona Coast for the 2019 Vega IRONMAN World Championship on Saturday, October 12.

While epic visions emerge of athletes conquering the Kailua Bay swim, the bike across barren lava fields and the run along Ali`i Drive, there is still far more to know about this iconic event. With a weeklong set of festivities and side events before the big day, in addition to the abundance of tourist activities, the 2019 Vega IRONMAN World Championship is expected to bring a massive economic boost to Hawai`i.

“We are excited to welcome more than 20,000 of our IRONMAN `Ohana, to the beautiful community here in Kailua-Kona to be a part of the 2019 Vega IRONMAN World Championship `Ohana,” said Diana Bertsch, Senior Vice President of World Championship Events for The IRONMAN Group. “We take pride in the significant impact of this event, from the inspirational athletes and their physical accomplishments, to the benefits for the local communities and showcasing of this amazing location to the world.”

Situated on the western coast of the Island of Hawai`i, Kailua-Kona provides visitors a warm and sunny environment perfect for snorkeling, sunbathing and swimming. Combined with world famous golf courses and resorts, there are plenty of leisure and adventure activities within driving distance. Starting in Kona, guests can travel through all but four of the world’s different climate zones thanks to the unique geological features of the Island of Hawai`i. Ranging from Wet Tropical to Polar Tundra, visitors can experience the rich coffee fields of Kona, jet-black sands of Punalu`u Beach, lush valleys of the Hilo and Hāmākua Coasts, and the snow-capped heights of Mauna Kea. In all, Kona and the Island of Hawai`i is an unrivaled expression of the power of nature.

Taking advantage of all that Hawai`i has to offer, athletes, their family and friends stay an average of six nights for the world’s pinnacle event, helping to bring an expected total economic impact of more than $30 million. Going beyond tourism, the event also creates tangible change in the community through the IRONMAN Foundation’s distribution of charitable giveback to nonprofit initiatives and groups in the Kailua-Kona community. This year’s grant funding of more than $120,000 brings the total giveback awarded in the region to over $1.8 million across 1,325 nonprofit organizations.

“Kona has been home to the IRONMAN World Championship since 1981 and we take great pride in sharing our amazing community with the world each October,” added Bertsch. “Every year the event continues to grow as does the `ohana who come to witness history being made each year. The IRONMAN World Championship’s global appeal, in combination with the surreal beauty of the Hawaiian Islands, makes for the perfect competitive destination. We are extremely honored to extend our Aloha to all who come to experience this amazing event.”

Creating further world-wide exposure, the 2019 Vega IRONMAN World Championship will enjoy 20 hours of comprehensive live race-day coverage globally via IRONMAN Now™ on Facebook Watch and through regional television coverage, including NBC Sports in the United States. This year’s IRONMAN World Championship live coverage continues to give viewers a front row seat to everything from the early morning body marking to the final hour finish-line celebration. Last year’s coverage had nearly 20 million total views on Facebook Watch with the expectation for that to grow even further in 2019.

In addition to race-day coverage, the continuation of the sports documentary television series “IRONMAN: Quest for Kona® fueled by Gatorade Endurance” will return for a third season. The series will profile five triathletes from around the world and their journeys to the Vega IRONMAN World Championship. In 2018, this episodic series, which aired on NBC and Facebook, reached over 7.6 million viewers. Air dates for the 2019 edition of “IRONMAN: Quest for Kona® fueled by Gatorade Endurance” will be announced in the near future.

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