For access to all of our training, gear, and race coverage, plus exclusive training plans, FinisherPix photos, event discounts, and GPS apps, sign up for Outside+.
On May 7, the first Ironman World Championship since 2019 will take place in Utah. It’ll be a one-of-its-kind race—the first Ironman world title contested outside of Hawaii. With a tough, hilly course and wild weather, combined with a stack field, anticipation is high.
The men’s race goes off at 6:15 a.m. MT on Saturday, May 7, with the pro women following at 6:20 a.m. (The first wave of age-groupers starts at 6:45 a.m.) Here’s what you need to know and how to watch every minute.
The Ironman St. George course
The last full Ironman in St. George was held in 2012—and had a 29% DNF rate on the hilly, hot day. If you only take away one thing, take away this: The Ironman St. George course is hard.
While the swim is likely to be cold out at Sand Hollow, the main focus is on the very hilly bike and run. A two-loop bike course has over 7,300 feet of elevation—but it’s also about where that elevation comes. After a long climb up to Veyo from mile 70 to 80, athletes will descend and then climb again—hitting the famous Snow Canyon climb just after the 100-mile point before descending into town. The run might be easier, but not by much. There’s another 1,400 feet of elevation gain with almost no flat anywhere on course. Athletes head up out of T2, drop down, turn around and come back, and then do it again.
And we haven’t even mentioned the weather yet. Races in St. George have included 100+ degree days, hurricane-level winds, and torrential lighting storms.
Who to watch
While there have been many (many!) last-minute changes to the start lists, the expected fields are full of both former winners and highly anticipated newcomers. A battle of the kids v. the vets. Plus, with such unpredictable conditions and such a tough courses, previous success in Kona might not mean as much in St. George. The race could play out entirely differently; read contributor Tim Heming’s analysis of how the St. George course could change the dynamic in the pro races.
In the women’s race, the focus will be on two defending champs: Four-time Ironman world champion Daniela Ryf and defending Ironman world champion Anne Haug. With Lucy Charles-Barclay out due to a hip stress fracture and heavy favorite Laura Philipp out with COVID, those looking to upset will include Kat Matthews (who replaced Charles-Barclay in the Sub8 Project), Ruth Astle, Olympic silver medalist Lisa Norden, and American favorites Heather Jackson, Linsey Corbin, and Skye Moench.
The men’s race has also been decimated by withdrawals, with both of the most recent winners out for injury (Patrick Lange and Jan Frodeno). The day before the race, both Olympic gold medalist Alistair Brownlee and defending 70.3 world champ Gustav Iden announced they would not start due ongoing illnesses. That leaves Sebi Kienle as the only former world champion in the race, with David McNamee, Ben Hoffman, Lionel Sanders, and Bart Aernouts as the other previous podium finishers. They’ll be hoping to persevere against a wave of newcomers that includes the much anticipated Ironman World Championship debut of Olympic champ Kristian Blummenfelt. And pro cyclist Cam Wurf is taking a break from the Ineos team, after the team won Paris-Roubaix, to test his swim-bike-run legs. Plus, don’t count out American up-and-comer Sam Long.
How to watch the Ironman World Championship
With all this action, you’ll want to tune in live. And, of course, the race for the Ironman world title will be broadcast by Ironman’s production team—with the quality and commentators viewers have grown accustomed to. Coverage will air on Ironman’s Facebook page and on the Ironman Now Youtube channel starting at 4:50 a.m. MT on May 7. It will also be available on Peacock, NBC’s streaming service, starting at 6 a.m. MT.