Each year, more than 50,000 triathletes compete in races all over the world hoping to earn one of roughly 1800 golden opportunities of a lifetime: the right to race with the best in the world in Kona.
Other than trying your luck – against very long odds --at the lottery, if you want to go to Kona, you need to qualify. An overview of the qualifying slot distribution process:
The allocation of those 1800 slots is roughly as follows:
- 1500 slots earned at qualifying races (see estimates below)
- 200 awarded in an official Ironman lottery held each Spring; thousands apply; see www.ironman.com for details and registration
- The rest go to previous Kona winners, last year’s Kona age group winners, NBC broadcast subjects, sponsor and manufacturer representatives.
- The 1500 slots are allocated among 25 Ironman qualifying races and Ironman 70.3 California
- The slots each race gets (e.g., Wisconsin = 72 slots) are allocated among age-group divisions and pros (e.g., M45-49 age group gets 6 slots)
- The slots in each race’s age-group division are reserved for the top finishers (e.g., the top 6 finishers in M45-49 are entitled to take a slot)
- It may happen that some athletes will choose to not accept a slot they earned for some reason; any slots not accepted ‘roll down’ to the next finisher(s) who also have the option to accept or pass on the slot.
- The ‘Roll Down’ process continues until all slots are taken
- Note: see official race rules for details and timing