The IRONMAN Group today announced that Lahti, Finland has secured the right to host the 2023 IRONMAN® 70.3® World Championship, a two-day event that will take place on August 26-27, 2023. It is the third time that the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship will be held on European soil after Zell am See-Kaprun (Austria) in 2015 and Nice (France) in 2019.
The winning bid was announced today during a global broadcast, that saw Finnish sports stars join IRONMAN leaders in celebration.
“As we look towards the future of IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship racing, we have some of the most distinct and unique destinations for athletes to test their mettle in St. George, Utah, Taupō, New Zealand and now Lahti, Finland,” said Andrew Messick, President and Chief Executive Officer for The IRONMAN Group. “It is our great pleasure to be able to showcase Finland and its rich sport history and beautiful landscape to the world with this event in 2023.”
“We are very proud and happy to welcome the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship to Lahti in 2023. We have a long experience in hosting international sporting events and we are committed to providing a world-class environment for athletes and audience alike. Our goal is to share this unique experience together,” said Pekka Timonen, Mayor of Lahti.
Lahti is located approximately 100 km northeast of the country’s capital of Helsinki, Europe’s northern- and easternmost capital. The surrounding landscape lends to Finland’s reputation of “Land of a Thousand Lakes” with numerous interconnected lakes surrounding the city which recently was declared “Europe’s Green Capital of 2021.” Once visitors arrive in Lahti, everything is within walkable distance, including the city’s transport hub, restaurants, shopping and hotels.
Lahti is also considered Finland’s sports capital – a unique distinction in a country that hosted the 1952 Olympic Games and multiple other world-renowned sports events – and is the six-time host of The Nordic Skiing World Championships.
Now, the city of 120,000 inhabitants wants to leave its mark on summer sports too. With its reputation as one of the flattest countries in Europe – Finland’s highest point is Halti in Northern Lapland – athletes can expect a flat and fast racecourse surrounded by unique Finnish nature.
After a preliminary selection from a number of potential host countries, Klagenfurt (Austria) and Lahti (Finland) were the finalists with Lahti emerging as the winning bid.
“We couldn’t be happier with our two finalists and while both locations would have served our athletes well, we are excited to bring the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship to Finland for the first time,” said Diana Bertsch, Senior Vice President of World Championship events for The IRONMAN Group. “Since the rotation of the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship began in 2014 and then the two-day format in 2017, the event has seen substantial growth of global competition. Being able to chase new physical challenges against top competition in locations that are as different as they are beautiful are key elements we want for our IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship athletes and we look forward to continuing this in Lahti, Finland in 2023.”
“We had two great candidate cities and each one would have deserved this unique event,” said Stefan Petschnig, Managing Director IRONMAN Europe, Middle East and Africa. “My gratitude goes out to all those who were involved with the Klagenfurt and Lahti bids. Congratulations to Lahti and Finland; we are extremely excited to see the world’s best athletes race in Finland in 2023.”
The next edition of the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship will be taking place on September 17-18, 2021 in St. George, Utah, USA followed by Taupō, New Zealand on December 10-11, 2022.