(BIVN) – The 2019 Vega IRONMAN World Championship is underway this morning in Kona.
The event is being aired live globally through IRONMAN Now on Facebook Watch. This morning, athletes converged on Aliʻi Drive for body marking and other race preparations.
The race began at 6:25 a.m. as the Male Professionals / Elite Athletes began the swim off Kailua Pier.
The male winner is estimated to cross the finish line on Aliʻi Drive at about 2:30 p.m. after a grueling 2.4 mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride along Queen Ka’ahumanu Highway to Hawi and back, and a 26.2-mile marathon. The first female finisher is expected about an hour later.
The event will continue until after midnight. At 11:30 p.m., the Finish Line Party will inspire the crowd as the participants fight exhaustion to complete the race.
According the IRONMAN team:
The women’s professional field will be led by four-time reigning IRONMAN World Champion and owner of the course best time, Daniela Ryf (SUI), who continues to add to her impressive resume. Fresh off earning her fifth IRONMAN® 70.3® World Champion title this past September in Nice, France, Ryf also came away with victories at the Memorial Hermann IRONMAN North American Championship in Texas, IRONMAN Austria, and IRONMAN 70.3 Oceanside this year.
The men’s group is equally stacked with top contenders, including reigning two-time IRONMAN World Champion Patrick Lange (GER). Lange will seek to further his success in Kona following a monumental year that saw him become the first IRONMAN World Championship winner to break the eight-hour barrier as he set a course-best time of 7:52:39 in 2018. Most notably, fellow countryman and two-time IRONMAN World Champion Jan Frodeno (GER), returns to the start line to challenge for the title after missing the 2018 IRONMAN World Championship following a stress fracture in his hip.
The Hawaiʻi Department of Transportation (HDOT) advises Hawaii Island motorists of the following road closures today:
- Queen Kaahumanu Highway (Route 19) – All lanes closed in both directions between Palani Road and Kaiminani Drive from 6:30 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 12, through 1 a.m. on Sunday, Oct. 13. Motorists are advised to use Ane Keohokalole Highway as an alternate route. Access for Kohanaiki Subdivision residents will be allowed via Hina Lani Street and Hulikoa Drive. Motorists may access Kona International Airport via Kaiminani Drive.
- Queen Kaahumanu Highway (Route 19) – All lanes closed in both directions between Kawaihae Road and Kaiminani Drive from 7 a.m. to 6:15 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 12. Access will be allowed for guests only to and from hotel resorts via Waikoloa Road and Kawaihae Road.
- Akoni Pule Highway (Route 270)– All lanes closed in both directions between Kawaihae Road and Hawi Town from 8 a.m. to 4:15 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 12.