Honolulu (HawaiiNewsNow) The first time in the last three years this Ironman Triathlon will be back on Hawaii Island this weekend. It’s a welcomed economic boost following a prolonged drought.
Around 5,000 triathletes are expected to arrive on the island to participate in the race.
“You are home to you have the Super Bowl that will probably never make it to Hawaii however, here, you can find the top athletes on the planet as well. Hawaii is the place to be.” Hawaii Island Mayor Mitch Roth stated to Hawaii News Now.
The event will be divided into two days with the women competing on Thursday while the men competing on Saturday. On both days, all traffic within the region will be shut off -and the majority on Queen Kaahumanu Highway, Kuakini Highway and a number of side streets being closed from sun up until sunset.
“It is going to be difficult to get around on Thursday and Saturday. There’s been closures on a lot of the Ali’i drive in other areas in the past,” Roth said. “We’re strongly recommending that everyone be aware of the roads that will be affected.”
Roth repeated that road closures, despite impacting businesses, are essential.
“Events such as Ironman that have people who are coming to Hawaii and bringing cash into the community are extremely important,” Roth said.
However, some business owners aren’t so sure.
“I believe it brings funds into the economy and in Kona, however I’m thinking it is possible to narrow it down to a single day as the norm,” said Nakoa Pabre the owner of Umeke’s Fish Market in Kona.
He took the decision to close the restaurant Thursday through Saturday because of their location being near the course.
“Closing down for three days is an enormous loss in income,” Pabre said. “Plus the fact that all my staff are working on short days, and we’re not yet recovering from COVID, so it’s really hard.”
The races begin at the Kailua Pier beginning at 6:45 a.m. on Thursday and Saturday.