IRONMAN has announced a new swim start protocol that will be implemented for the 2019 IRONMAN World Championship, which takes place on October 12, 2019. The new wave start at the iconic event is aimed at reducing athlete density on bike course.
For the first time, the world championship event will utilize a wave start that separates the field into 11 groups. As in previous years, the professional men’s field will start at 06:25 local time, followed by the professional women’s field at 06:30. The PC/Open Exhibition and Handcycle divisions will then begin their day at 06:35. The first age group wave will start at 06:55 and will continue every 5 minutes until all athletes are in the water.
“The swim start change is a reflection of, and reaction to, the extraordinary ability of our IRONMAN World Championship athletes,” said Andrew Messick, President & CEO of The IRONMAN Group. “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 decision to move to an extended wave start was made following a comprehensive analysis of athlete data with the goal of reducing peak athlete density flowing onto the bike course. The new start times will not change the existing cut off standards for the IRONMAN World Championship – 2:20 for the swim and 10:30 for the bike. Athletes will also still have to reach the finish line within 17 hours to be official finishers of the race.
“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, Senior Vice President of World Championship Events of The IRONMAN Group.
“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.”
New start times:
Time of Day / Division
06:35 PC OPEN / HC
Over 90,000 athletes compete worldwide at more than 40 global IRONMAN events each year to qualify for the IRONMAN World Championship. Last year’s record-breaking race welcomed approximately 2,500 registered athletes from 82 countries, regions and territories, marking the largest international field in race history.
The 2019 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.
Last year’s IRONMAN World Championship live coverage ‘included everything from the early morning body marking to the final hour finish-line celebration and had nearly 20 million total views on Facebook Watch.’