Pro triathlete James Cunnama has raced the Ironman World Championships in Kona six times previously, and has two top-five finishes. His wisdom on how to get the most out of a trip to Hawaii is hard-earned, so who better to tell you what to pack for the big dance?

Besides, if you dug a tunnel from Mauna Loa – the towering active volcano presiding over the World Champs course – through the Earth, you’d pop up in James’s backyard in South Africa. Which makes his journey to Kona one of the longest.

The Flight

  • Travel socks
  • Neck pillow
  • Drink bottle and electrolyte tabs
  • Sleeping pills
  • Earphones
  • Pro Tip: Pack snacks – lots.

Race Week

  • Comfortable shoes – you’ll walk a lot, even if you try not to. Don’t ruin your race feet walking around in flip-flops
  • Sunblock – don’t get burnt before the race
  • Hat
  • Cool, comfortable clothes
  • Lots of t-shirts – you’ll change three times a day as you get used to the heat
  • Ear plugs and eye mask – you can’t predict your neighbours
    Pro Tip: Stay in the air conditioning and download plenty of your favorite TV programs

Race Equipment

  • Spare tire (or two) – there’s lots of debris in the yellow line when training
  • Travel turbo trainer
  • Swim skin – don’t forget this.
  • Extra goggles
  • Sunblock – you’ll get burnt in the race, but it’s worth a try
  • Nutrition – see my point about the race expo below!
  • Elastic bands for bike shoes – bumps on the way out of T1 claim shoes every year
  • Number belt
  • Run hat and sunglasses
    Pro Tip: have it all set to go before you leave – running around the race expo is for souvenirs, not race stuff. If anything does need last-minute attention, use the on-site brand experts, like the ENVE team, who will be setup at the expo.

Leave at home

  • Jeans
  • Hoodies and jackets (maybe one hoodie, for the over-air conditioned flight)
  • Wetsuit
  • Your tension and stress – enjoy the experience, don’t ruin it by taking the race (or yourself) too seriously

You can follow James on Instagram at @jamescunnama

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