The 2022 VinFast IRONMAN World Championship returns to Hawai’i for the first time since 2019, with this year’s event to be held over two days. Thursday will see the women’s professional race take place, alongside male and female handcycle divisions, all female age-group athletes, and some men’s age-groups, while Saturday will have the men’s professional race and the remaining men’s age-groups, with more athletes than ever before set to take on one of the world’s most famous events.
Australians Sarah Crowley, Renee Kiley, Dimity-Lee Duke, Penny Slater, Kylie Simpson and Kate Bevilaqua will be lining up against the world’s best in the women’s professional race to take on the 3.8km swim, 180km ride and 42.2km run from 2:00am AEST Friday October 7.
While fellow Australians Lauren Parker - 2021 IRONMAN Handcycle World Champion (Utah), and Matthew Brumby - 2019 IRONMAN Handcycle World Champion (Kona), are also set to take on the challenge in the handcycle division.
Sarah Crowley has had success racing in Kona in the past, finishing third at the last edition in 2019, as well as third in 2017, and has had a strong year of racing so far, with victories at IRONMAN Australia in May and the Cairns Airport IRONMAN Asia-Pacific Championship Cairns in June.
“I have a lot of experience at Kona, as this is now my fifth time racing here,” said Crowley. “My four previous races were all top 15, including two third place results and a sixth. I think the key in the professional race is to be ready for anything.
“I’ve been training with my team really hard at altitude in Park City, Utah for three months now, since IRONMAN Cairns in June,” she said. “We’ve been going there for six years for my preparation, so we can compare a lot of routes with prior year training sessions. This helps me to push to the level I know is world class having been on the podium before. So I’m confident I’m ready.”
The experienced Crowley will be joined by Kate Bevilaqua as she returns to the IRONMAN World Championship as a professional for the first time in nine years. At 45 years of age Bevilaqua will also be the oldest female professional in the field when she takes to the waters of Kailua Bay.
“This is my 17th year competing as a professional triathlete, and nine years between visits is a long time,” she said. “Competing there as a professional is not something that I thought I would ever do again, it gives me goose bumps just thinking I have this opportunity again and I know when our plane lands at Kona airport it will bring back a flood of memories. I am excited about making some new ones on October 6.”
After being the sole Australian professional female to compete at the 2021 IRONMAN World Championship in St. George, Utah, in May, Renee Kiley looks to be in good company this week, joined by Dimity-Lee Duke on her return to the big island since last qualifying in 2017, as well as Kylie Simpson and Penny Slater as they make their IRONMAN World Championships debut and round out the Australian Professional Women’s contingent for this years’ World Championships.
Lauren Parker’s return to the IRONMAN stage will cap off an incredible journey since suffering life-changing injuries in a bike accident in April 2017.
“It feels so good to be back, obviously I raced here in 2014 and 2016 as an able-bodied athlete but to be back here in Kona racing again as a para-athlete is something that I’ve always wanted to do since my accident and so I’m finally here and I just love being here in Kona, and I can’t wait for race day,” said Parker.
“It’s just a special place, the atmosphere in Kona and the amount of support that the whole community has for the IRONMAN race week,” she said. “The atmosphere here at the IRONMAN World Championship is like none other in the world, so it’s a very special place in that respect. To be racing with so many great athletes on the race course, everyone achieving their own goals it’s just awesome to be amongst everyone and to be accepted as a para-athlete as well.”
Also flying the Australian flag in the handcycle division is 2019 men’s handcycle World Champion Matthew Brumby.
Reflecting on his success in 2019 Brumby stated "This was my first full IRONMAN, my first Kona and also my first win at this distance! I was reflecting during the entire race, just trying to soak up all the atmosphere and excitement from all the competitors and volunteers out on the course and in the village."
Brumby returns to Kona this year to see if he can regain his title.
After the three-year hiatus at Kona, nearly 300 Australian age groupers will be toeing the line for the 3.8km swim, 180km ride and 42.2km run. All female age-group athletes, and some men’s age-groups will kicking off on day one of the competition, with the remaining men’s age group categories to follow on Saturday. Congratulations to all age groupers for the incredible achievement of qualifying to race at the World Championships and good luck for race day.
Here's how you can experience the magic of Kona from home and cheer on your fellow Australians:
Watch on Facebook Live:
Pro Female race starts on Friday 7 Oct, at 2:25am (AEST)
Pro Male race starts on Sunday 9 Oct, at 2:25am (AEST)
Download the IRONMAN Tracker App:
- If you know someone lucky enough to be on the start line, then make sure you download the IRONMAN Tracker App to follow their journey to the finish line.