Monday, October 10, 2011

Ironman announces changes to Kona qualification

So my title for this post lies slightly, but it caught your attention, right?  The changes are actually going to be to the lottery system, and the addition of a new category of sorts.  Athletes still wanting to qualify will still need to do so in their age group and earning one of those coveted slots.

The change will be with the addition of what I will refer to as the "Bought by Loyalty" category.  This is going to be made up of athletes who have completed 12+ full-course Ironman branded races (so this does not include 70.3's).  Sounds like a sweet deal, right?  Well, here's a few things to think about.

First, these new slots are not actually "new" slots, but instead they will be taken from the current lottery slots.  This means that there are actually going to be fewer lottery slots available for those who purchase a lottery ticket.  Secondly, the World Triathlon Corp. is going to go back 6 six and look at the lottery system, and for every time you purchased a lottery ticket, you will basically get a bonus entry for the 2012 lottery drawing.  I'm not sure if these extra tickets will keep piling on year after year, or if it's a one-time thing.

Another thing to consider is how much you will actually be paying to "earn" these new loyalty slots.  At $625 per race, times 12 races, that's $7500!  Now, obviously that's not too much for some people, but for others, that's a crapton!

For a guy like me, I personally like this new system.  I don't foresee myself qualifying to race in Kona at any point in my triathlon life.  Of course, things can change once my little one is in school full time and my days are maybe a little less busy.  I'm about to do my 4th Ironman, so I'm a third of the way there!  My plan has always been to do an Ironman every other year (even though I haven't actually followed that plan yet...), so I would theoretically be able to do Kona when I'm about 43 years old.  I'm sure it will be here before I know it!

There's definitely going to be varying opinions about this new announcement, and everyone is entitled to their opinion.  For those who say, "You're just allowing those who don't deserve to be there to race and ruin to overall feeling of Kona" my reply would be this:  The sport of triathlon wouldn't exist without the average age-grouper.  The races that are only for the "elites" are called the Olympics.  Without all of the age-groupers paying their money and buying all of the sponsor's products, the sport of triathlon probably couldn't afford to have a world championship.  So I say let in those people who have made a pretty significant financial impact on the races.  They've probably been dedicated to the sport longer that the naturally talented people who win their age group anyway.  But again, that's just my opinion.

Thanks for reading!

*You can listen to the podcast in which this announcement was made by going here.

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