Ironman 70.3 2019 Mauna Lani Resort
Every year since we have lived here the “Honu” triathlon has been hosted within the Mauna Lani Resort. The 2 hotels located within the resort have traded hosting the event and many of us volunteer for this race as well as the IRONMAN World Championship in October. In the early years it was an olympic distance event with 200+ local participants. Today it’s a half- Ironman distance and includes over 1500 participants. It’s also a qualifying event for the October IRONMAN World Championship in October so age group competitors and the world’s top pro triathletes are present to secure their slot in the big race.
It was 77 degrees for the swim start at Hapuna Beach State Park and by 11:30 am when the first finishers started to appear within the Mauna Lani Resort, it was a smoking 94 degrees with bright blue, clear, skies above and no wind. Our friend Cindy who swims with our Mauna Lani Masters Swim Group represented the group well in the race! Congrats to Cindy!
We welcome these events on the island as they bring the world’s best athletes to enjoy our perfect weather and incredible race course venues including our crystal clear waters, incredible biking country to the north end of our island then a great run within our Mauna Lani Resort. What a great place to spend a long and hot day after months of training! Congrats to all the athletes-come back soon!!
From the Ironman Website:
About the Race:
IRONMAN® 70.3® Hawai‘i will consist of a 1.2-mile swim at Hapuna Beach State Park, a 56-mile bike towards Hawi and back to Mauna Lani Resort, and a 13.1-mile run entirely within the resort grounds. Over 2,000 athletes from across the United States and from several countries will compete in this prestigious race.
Nicknamed Honu, in honor of the Hawaiian green sea turtle, the IRONMAN 70.3 Hawai`i offers competitors a beautiful venue. It starts with an open-ocean swim and follows with a challenging course along the northern half of the IRONMAN World Championship bike course.
The swim takes place at Hapuna Beach State Park, frequently listed as one of the best beaches in the United States with its warm, crystal blue waters, white sand, and occasional sightings of spinner dolphins and resident honu (turtles).
The bike course leads athletes along the infamous Queen Ka’ahumanu and Akoni Pule Highways towards the tiny northern town of Hawi, known for its unique boutiques, restaurants and galleries, and of course as the IRONMAN bike turn-around. Athletes cycle their way through black lava fields and green pastures, ancient, historic Hawaiian heiau (temples), and modern wind farms that hint of the notorious and legendary Kama’kani winds.
The hot and sunny run starts and finishes at the beautiful Fairmont Orchid, Hawai`i , and winds its way through the Mauna Lani Resort over modern golf greens, past ancient petroglyph fields and fishponds, and the historic Ala Loa Foot trail.
The post-race lawn party at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai`i is worth making it to the finish line. The host hotel goes all out to feed the hungry athletes, but the real dessert is the championship slot allocations at the end of the day.
After the race, the island offers competitors a vacation playground with a variety of natural wonders to explore, including rain forests, waterfalls, active volcanoes, black sand beaches, and abundant marine life.
On January 8, 2004 the World Triathlon Corporation announced the addition of a new triathlon on Hawai’i’s Big Island. The inaugural race had all the standard details: date, distance, location, qualifying slots, etc. but there was one small problem – it needed a name.
In an effort to allow Hawai’i’s residents to get involved, WTC devised a plan to hold a “Name the Race” contest.
After reading over 170 entries from throughout the state, a submission from Sean “Peaman” Pagett stood out. Pagett, longtime Kona community volunteer, IRONMAN finisher and sponsor of the free Peaman race series, submitted the winning entry of Honu Triathlon and earned a weekend getaway at Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows.
Sean Pagett explained the inspiration behind the name, “It’s multi-faceted because I love turtles, they are appropriately fitting to the Mauna Lani area, which is well-known for the Honu and their Turtle Independence Day. This turtle release program has become a treasured Big Island event. What better race mascot than the honu with its uniquely Hawaiian flair?”
The 2004 Honu Triathlon was an Olympic distance race that started at Hapuna Beach and finished at the beautiful Mauna Lani Bay Resort. “We are extremely motivated to work with IRONMAN to showcase this exciting event. As the host resort, we are committed to ensuring an extraordinary experience for the athletes, spectators, guests and Big Island residents,” said Riley Saito, vice president for Mauna Lani Resort.
That year’s race provided qualifying slots to the 2004 IRONMAN Triathlon World Championship to Hawai’i state athletes only. Now, the race is known as IRONMAN 70.3 Hawai’i and is open to athletes from all over the world. It is truly a world class event and the crown jewel of the IRONMAN 70.3 series, offering qualifying slots to the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship.