2020 – Cancelled ❌

Last night we got the news that the pinnacle of the racing calendar has been cancelled. The Ironman World Championships in Kona, will not be taking place in 2020.

And I won’t lie to you, that’s a deep blow. I’ve spent the last 24 hours not in the best frame of mind. It sucks.

I obviously knew the writing was on the wall, and when Roth got cancelled I knew it’d be unlikely Kona would happen. But still, kona symbolises a lot of things for me, and for it to not happen wasn’t any easier.

It’s not even that we won’t be able to go to Hawaii this year that’s upsetting, it’s what that means. With no Kona, it means no racing. I’m not the kind of athlete that puts a half hearted performance in every other week at a little event. 

I race to be the best version of myself, two days a year. 2/365 (366 in this case). That’s all that counts. Careful planning. Nowhere to hide. All or nothing. 

Ironman offered us 3 options. 1) defer to any other Ironman race. And waste 5 years of training to qualify in this sort of shape? No thanks.

Second – defer to the new date, February 6th 2021. 

Third – defer to the 2021 race on October 9th.

Before i’d even finished reading the options I knew the answer, and here’s why.

Big races like Kona are everything to an athlete like me. With every single decision I make in life, I consider the impact it’ll have on me as an athlete. I devote everything to trying to become the best possible athlete I can be. And that’s showcased two or three days a year. I sacrifice everything for that opportunity, as do many others around me. 

53_m-100790953-DIGITAL_HIGHRES-1835_151469-12559900Now in 2019 it never happened for me, I never quite strung it together, I just wasn’t good enough when it counted. So I’ve got a lot to prove. Throwback to Kona 2017, I stumbled round in 11:57, the first and only time I’ve finished an Ironman in the dark. And I’ve had a lot of demons since that day.

It’s not racing purely against other people that excites me. It’s not beating them. It’s lining up next to some of the worlds best age groupers and pushing each other the the edge of our limits. It’s about bringing the best out of ourselves and those around us, and testing just what we’re capable of.

The only time this can happen, is if we’re all there at the same race, in good shape, ready to lay it out. Nobody wants to win under bad circumstances, nobody wants to lose due to things they can’t control. Everyone wants to be the best in a fair contest. 

If we race in February, the Southern Hemisphere will have had perfect preparation, and we’ll have been training for the hottest race on the calendar, in sub 0 temperatures. Yes, I’m aware that the Aussies train in winter for kona every year – your winter is very mild, Europe’s is not. Winter means snow, ice & crashes. Nobody wants to race a reduced field. Nobody wants to see crashes.

36_m-100790953-DIGITAL_HIGHRES-1835_113520-12559883Nobody can qualify. There’s no races, so how are the strong athletes going to qualify for a February race? Again, a reduced field doesn’t bring out the best in us. Even if a few more find their names on the list. 

It’ll ruin Christmas for us all. Imagine it. You waltz into a family buffet, it’s the Christmas period, beer & snacks are flowing. 

Except you’ve waltzed in late cause you’ve just finished a 5 hour winter (or summer) ride on a time trial bike and you’re wandering about worried about getting ill or fat 5 weeks out from Kona. You don’t have any beer. You don’t have any buffet. Race weight is hanging over you. Kona is coming. And that sucks. 

You’re trying to get heat sessions in the week before running in -3 degree winter mornings. Morning -3, evening +40, ermmm?

It just wouldn’t be a championship. It wouldn’t be right. It wouldn’t be Kona.

So I’ve opted for October 2021, the closest thing we’ll get to a “normal” Kona.

That way it won’t impact on the 2021 calendar. I won’t be trying to cram extra races at the end of the year. Unwinding and taking downtime in March. Building through April. I’ll be fresh, ready and prepared by the time the racing starts. 

My last 3 years were meant to culminate in Kona 2020. We’d planned every detail for me to be execute the race I’d be proud of. So that’s difficult. But the island will still be there in 2021. (I hope).

I still want to go to kona in 2021 and 2022, and I still want to do something special.

So what’s next?

Well more downtime. Not physically this time round, but mentally. Cut myself a bit of extra slack, hit the big sessions, see what we can produce and how far I can stretch the limits. 

I still want to race Roth & Western Australia in the next 18 months.

I still want to go sub 8:30.

I still want to be the best version of myself.

So until that time, racing or not, I’ll keep grinding behind the scenes. Ready for when we can once again, toe the line. 

1 reply
  1. Mitch
    Mitch says:

    We’re truly gutted for you Jack, 2020 was meant to be a really exciting race season for you. Stay strong and true to your goals and your supporters will be there with you all the way – looking forward to an epic 2021 !!


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