Ironman announced today that the 2017 Ironman 70.3 World Championship triathlon taking place in Chattanooga, Tennessee will move to a rolling wave start within each age group.

The decision to change the swim-start aims to create a more fair World Championship experience for athletes by spreading athletes out and minimizing bike course density. Significant analytics research of past participant data went into the formatting decision for the swim start and was an important factor in deciding when each age group would start. Another objective of the adjusted swim start times is to deliver a safe event while providing a World Championship experience for all athletes.

“The execution of the swim start is critical in the management of bike course drafting. The adjusted swim starts will help to ensure as fair of a race as possible for age-group athletes,” said Andrew Messick, Chief Executive Officer of Ironman. “We know how important world championship events are for our athletes and this decision is a direct response to the feedback we have received. By spacing out the start times in the sequence that has been determined, the athlete field will be more evenly spread throughout the course and subsequently reduce the opportunity for drafting.”

The championship race will be a two-day event with the professional and age-group women racing on Saturday, Sept. 9 and the professional and age-group men racing on Sunday, Sept. 10. On Saturday, the professional women’s field will begin with a mass start at 7:30 a.m., with the first age group women wave beginning at 7:38 a.m. Likewise, on Sunday, the men’s pro race will begin with a mass start at 7:30 a.m. and the first men’s age-group wave will begin at 7:38 a.m.

While the new format will have the men and women’s fields competing on separate days, the new start times will not change the existing cut-off standards for the Ironman 70.3 World Championship. All athletes will be required to finish the swim in one hour, the bike in five hours and 10 minutes after start, and complete the entire course in eight hours.

“We are proud to continue to find ways of enhancing the athlete experience at our world championship events. As the top triathletes in the world, these competitors deserve the highest quality race possible,” said Diana Bertsch, Vice President of World Championship Events for Ironman.

The 2017 Ironman 70.3 World Championship swim waves will have altered time gaps between the age-group waves to support fairness and a more open course.

Below are the new start times for the 2017 Ironman 70.3 World Championship:

Saturday - Womens Race

PRO 7:30 am
PC/HC 7:33 am
40-44 7:38 am
70+ 7:45 am
35-39 7:54 am
65-69 8:02 am
30-34 8:11 am
60-64 8:18 am
55-59 8:26 am
50-54 8:35 am
25-29 8:43 am
18-24 8:49 am
45-49 8:58 am

Sunday - Mens Race

PRO 7:30 am
PC/HC 7:33 am
40-44 7:38 am
70+ 7:50 am
35-39 8:00 am
65-69 8:12 am
30-34 8:22 am
60-64 8:33 am
55-59 8:42 am
50-54 8:52 am
25-29 9:04 am
18-24 9:13 am
45-49 9:23 am