Peacock acquired the rights to air the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii earlier this year. The world-famous competition is back after a historic three-year hiatus and two canceled championships.
The women’s pro race, plus age-group women and certain men’s age groups, began on Thursday, October 6. The men’s professional race and age group fields aired on Saturday, October 8. Facebook Watch, YouTube, and Twitch will also be covering the event.
It was a particularly unique year for the event as training has been curtailed for many due to the pandemic, with athletes having to push through a tireless regime over years to get into the shape needed to compete in the race no one can tell what impact the restrictions will have. An Ironman race features a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike and a marathon — equalling 140.6 miles of racing. The best triathletes in the world manage a time of around eight hours to complete an event. Kona is known as the toughest event on the calendar.
Ex-Navy Seal, author, and motivational speaker, David Goggins, googled the 10 hardest events in the world 15 years ago and found himself in Hawaii at the 2008 Ironman. He dropped out of a B-52 bomber to start the race and would then complete the Ironman.
“To me, endurance sport is the only way you can really test yourself. I want to go out here and see what I have against some of the best athletes in the world. Because the best athletes in the world are in the Ironman.” Goggins said prior to his 2008 Ironman Race.
Due to the restrictions of the pandemic, and to get the race up-and-running so people could compete, many coaches across the triathlon sphere have had to enhance training regimes to hone in on more efficient routines for this year’s race. One company combined big data, artificial intelligence, and machine learning to generate Optimized Triathlon Training.
Predictive Fitness developed TriDot, a unique AI application, to optimize endurance training through mass amounts of data and a machine learning engine. The application is device agnostic and can be paired with numerous devices including Garmin and Polar watches, bike computers, smart trainers and the Apple Watch.
TriDot is likened to a navigation app on your smartphone. It will tell you how to get from where you are to wherever you want to go. You just need to get moving and follow the directions.
There are a few key components to optimized training including performance ability scores for each triathlon discipline, climate and terrain analysis so that your intensity recommendations are always accurate, genetic potential calculations, and more.
Mark Allen, known as ESPN’s Greatest Endurance Athlete Of All Time and a 6x Ironman World Champion, and Michellie Jones – an Ironman World Champion and Olympic Silver medalist has been training their athletes using the equipment to help with the upcoming race.
Allen, who is now also a corporate partner in the brand, said, “There’s two aspects to coaching. One is putting together a training program for somebody. If you’re doing that by hand, it’s massively time consuming. If that piece is taken away and done for you in a way that’s effective and really, truly works, then your mind is free. You don’t have to worry about that. You can modify as needed and make small tweaks, but then you actually have the time to coach the athlete. Which is imparting that personal knowledge about racing, lifestyle, nutrition, or any other aspect that you wouldn’t have had time to do with your athletes had you not had that big piece of putting together a training plan taken off your plate.”
CEO, founder, and multi-time Ironman finisher himself, Jeff Booher, said on the race coming back to air after years off, “It’s obviously great for the sport and we’ve of course been extremely happy with how we’ve helped athletes train and grow during this difficult time for the world. That’s a massive reason why TriDot was founded, we want it to be fun, efficient, and rewarding.”
Two helicopters and two drones provided aerial coverage during the race, as well as Megalodon cameras at the swim start, transition areas, and finish line. Over 5,000 athletes competed in the race. Michael Lovato and Dede Griesbauer commentated, and analysts Greg Welch and Matt Lieto reported from the racecourse on both days. Special on-course guest, past Ironman World Champion, Mirinda Carfrae, joined the Thursday broadcast.
There was also additional commentary from legends of the sport, such as three-time Ironman World Champion, Jan Frodeno.
The world championships aired with a new format to strong viewership live on Peacock on Thursday 6th October and Saturday 8th October.