Qualify for Ironman Kona Hawaii: Races, Qualifying Times, Slots, Races, Analysis, Motivation, and Advice

By Raymond Britt -- It requires tremendous commitment and determination to qualify for Kona. More than 60,000 triathletes try each year, but only about 2000+ win coveted Kona Slots (1700+ qualifiers, plus lottery winners, etc.).  We know what it takes; we've qualified for Kona three times. Kona is everything you expect and more. It takes hard work to get there, but it's worth it. 

This post contains what you need to know, qualifying timesslots, races, analysistraining and racing tips and more. Contents here include excerpts from the book Qualifying for Kona. Topics include (links take you to more detailed posts; non-link topics are covered further into this article):

Events on Ironman.com DateWebsiteEntry(1) Entrants(2) Results  Avg Time(3)SlotsOdds
Lake Tahoe CA, USA9/22/13WebsiteRegister 2,733Results14:06501.8%
Kailua-Kona World Championship10/12/13WebsiteQualify 2,039Results11:31251.1%
Florida Panama City Beach11/2/13WebsiteRegister 3,061Results12:38501.6%
Arizona Tempe, AZ, USA11/17/13WebsiteRegister 2,940Results12:48501.7%
Cozumel Cozumel, Mexico12/1/13WebsiteRegister 2,664Results13:03501.9%
Western Australia Busselton12/8/13WebsiteRegister 1,410Results11:52402.8%
New Zealand Taupo, NZ 3/1/14WebsiteRegister 1,532Results12:13503.3%
Melbourne, Victoria, AP Champs3/23/14WebsiteRegister 2,179Results11:09(4)401.8%
Los Cabos Los Cabos, Mexico3/30/14WebsiteRegister New Resultsn/a50n/a
S Africa Nelson Mandela Bay4/6/14WebsiteRegister 1,624Results12:53503.1%
Australia Port Macquarie, NSW5/4/14WebsiteRegister 1,603Results12:13402.5%
Lanzarote Canary Islands5/17/14WebsiteRegister 2,818Results12:53401.8%
Texas The Woodlands, TX5/17/14WebsiteRegister 1,916Results13:19502.1%
Brasil Florianopolis Island5/25/14WebsiteRegister 1,924Results11:59502.6%
Cairns Queensland, Australia6/8/14WebsiteRegister 1,226ResultsTBD403.3%
Austria Klagenfurt, Austria6/29/14WebsiteRegister 2,890Results11:39501.7%
Coeur d'Alene ID, USA6/29/14WebsiteRegister 2,318Results13:07502.2%
France Nice, France6/29/14WebsiteRegister 2,783Results12:44501.8%
Frankfurt European Champs7/6/14WebsiteRegister 3,015Results12:041003.3%
UK Bolton, England7/20/14WebsiteRegister 1,602Results12:56503.1%
Canada Whistler, BC, Canada7/27/14WebsiteRegister 2,171Results12:52502.3%
Lake Placid  NY, USA7/27/14WebsiteRegister 2,537Results13:05602.4%
Switzerland Zurich7/27/14WebsiteRegister 2,493Results11:54502.0%
Colorado Boulder, USA8/3/14WebsiteRegister New Resultsn/a50n/a
Sweden Kalmar, Sweden8/16/14WebsiteRegister 1,929Results11:23502.6%
Mont-Tremblant NA Champs8/17/14WebsiteRegister 2,306Results12:31753.3%
Copenhagen Denmark8/24/14WebsiteRegister 2,230ResultsTBD502.2%
Louisville  KY, USA8/24/14WebsiteRegister 2,600Results13:20501.9%
Japan Hokkaido, JapanDate?WebsiteRegister 1,552Results13:39503.2%
Wisconsin Madison, WI9/7/14WebsiteRegister 2,544Results13:16502.0%
Wales Pembrokeshire, Wales9/14/14WebsiteRegister 1,677Results12:13503.0%
Total 64,45612:35             15602.5%
(1) Many Races are Sold Out, but check registration page for potential additional charity entries
(2) Based on athlete counts in prior years' results, or participant list
(3) Average Finish Time Based on RunTri.com Results Analysis, multiple years for some races; click links for details
(4) Swim Shortened in 2013
By Raymond Britt and RunTri.com

As of 12/5/12, here's our estimated schedule of, and slots reportedly offered by, the 2013 season scheduled 34 Kona Qualifying Ironman and Ironman 70.3 events. (See important notes and caveats at end of post).

Here's what you need to know, qualifying timesslots, races, analysistraining and racing tips and more. Contents here include excerpts from the book Qualifying for Kona. Topics include:

Also see our analysis of how allocations by race have changed over time: Kona Qualifying Events 2005 vs 2012.

Here's a high-level overview Kona Qualifying Times across all 25 Ironman events. Below are the fastest, average and slowest qualifying times by division. These represent the best times, selected from many different races.  For the details, see our Kona Qualifying Times and Slots by Ironman Race and Age Group.

    Important Notes and Caveats for data that factors into 2013 schedules, slots, etc.

    1. Consider this analysis as best estimates based on current data
    2. Events, Dates and Kona or Vegas Slots -- are based on data published on race web sites as of 12/5/12
    3. Our listed estimate of participants per race is the number we expect may have entered by race day
    4. The listed estimate of participants is NOT necessarily the number currently registered
    5. A unexpected wide variety of things can change between now and race day for certain events; examples:
    -- a race's Kona slots have been known to change with little notice
    -- weather or other conflicts may impact the race distance or race date
    -- sometimes races open additional entry opportunities after being declared Sold Out
    6. Mandatory: for latest and most accurate information, visit the event race sites or ironman.com