KAILUA-KONA — Flags from countries around the globe were flying high on Alii Drive on Tuesday afternoon as hundreds of athletes took to the streets for the Ironman Parade of Nations.
The parade ran from the King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel to the Ironman Village at Hale Halawai and gave athlete from each nations a chance to wave their flags, yell their chants, sing their songs and proudly represent where they’re from before taking on the 140.6-mile Ironman World Championship on Saturday.
Approximately 2,500 of the world’s top triathletes are set to take on the Ironman World Championship this year, a trek that includes a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike and 26.2-mile run.
This year, Ohana is the theme for the race. There will be 75 countries, regions and territories represented.
Europe leads the way with 43% of the athletes registered to race. Following Europe, North America accounts for 31%, while Oceania accounts for 10% of the field. Latin America 7% and Asia 6%, Africa 2% and Middle East 1%.
Athletes range in age from 18 to 86 years old and have earned their championship opportunity by qualifying at one of more than 40 Ironman events worldwide.
“We are incredibly proud of the highly competitive nature of this year’s athlete field, as we will see nearly 2,500 competitors from around the globe toe the starting line on Saturday,” said Andrew Messick, President &Chief Executive Officer of The Ironman Group. “We relish the opportunity to bring thousands of athletes, as well as their family and supporters, to the shores of Kailua-Kona and embrace them as part of our `ohana. It is an honor to be able to pay tribute to all of the members of our extended family as we celebrate our Hawaiian heritage.”
The United States of America is the most represented nation with 659 registered athletes, followed by Germany (279), Australia (193), United Kingdom (162) and Canada (99). Other athletes from countries as far as Bermuda, Iceland, Lebanon, and the Saudi Arabia are traveling from around the globe for their shot at the world championship.
Here are some other tidbits about this year’s race:73 percent of registered participants (1,783 athletes) are male
27 percent of registered participants (669 athletes) are female
44 is the average age of all registrants
Hiromu Inada (Japan) is the oldest male participant at 86, while Valentin Carboniero (Denmark) is the youngest at 20
Dexter Yeats (US) is the oldest female participant at 74, while Pauline Anouk Chloé Dauvergne (FRA) is the youngest at 18
6 athletes will be celebrating their birthdays on event weekend
46 U.S. states are accounted for, with the greatest number hailing from California (92), Texas (61), Hawaii (57), Colorado (52) and Florida (50).
Approximately 95,000 registered athletes compete in Ironman races each year
More than 5,000 volunteers will help make the Ironman World Championship a success