East County Sports

Madden set for Kona replacement event



By Nick Pellegrino
ECS staff writer
WACO, Texas —- During the second week of October, more than 10,000 people take the trans-oceanic flight to descend upon the Big Island of Hawai’i for the Ironman World Championships, the top prize in the world of mainstream endurance racing.
However, pandemic conditions, the lack of ICU rooms in area hospitals forced local leaders to ask race officials to reschedule or even cancel the annual event, which has been held every year since the early 1980s.
The Ironman has become so iconic, competitors don’t seek “to win the world championship,” they refer to it as “to win Kona.”
Times may be changing.
“It’s been a very challenging 18 months for us,” said Andrew Messick, chief executive of Ironman. “We’ve had to learn a whole bunch of things on the fly that we didn’t know we needed to know.”
The No. 1 challenge? Sadly resign itself to agree and reschedule and relocate the event.
“Yes, a decision was made last month.”
Instead of the traditional second weekend of October, the 2021 Ironman championships will now be held in St. George, Utah, in May 2022, then hopefully return the 2022 championship to Kona five months later.
This weekend, a replacement event will be held near Waco, located some 100 miles south of Dallas.
Among local competitors, Kurt Madden, a world age-group leader from San Diego who started his coaching and racing career in East County, is ready to extend his year-long winning streak.
“I’m thrilled to be racing for the first time in Waco, Texas, at a full Ironman distance triathlon on Saturday,” said Madden.
“The 2.4-mile river swim should be super fast; the two-loop, 112-mile bike course looks to be relatively flat and fast, too; and the 26.2-mile, three-loop run will be near the river, with a few small hills.”
It may not be as treacherous as the lava fields near Kona, or ocean currents compared to swimming in South Bosque River. but expected temperatures will keep the racers toasty.
“It will be warmer on the run with projected highs in the afternoon at 86 degrees,” he added. “More importantly, it should be a great day to embrace the mindset, ‘Swim, bike, run, and have fun.'”
More than 2,000 participants are expected.


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