In case you haven’t already heard, the WTC has revamped their Kona lottery process. CEO Andrew Messick delivered the announcement in a video.
There are two major changes included:
1) A “Legacy” program has been created that opens up 100 slots for athletes who have raced in 12 previous full distance Ironman events and are currently actively racing.
2) Athletes who enter the lottery system multiple years in a row now have a better chance as they receive a lottery entry for each year they have been participating.
In general, there has been some criticism (mainly on Slowtwitch) regarding the Kona Lottery program as a whole. The critics argue that Kona, as it is the World Championship race, should only include “elite” athletes. Since when did “elite” mean fastest? I looked up “elite” on Dictionary.Com.
I don’t see the word fastest there? In fact, I don’t see anything about time or speed. I do see that the “elite” includes the “best” and those of the “highest class.” Now, isn’t that who we really want representing our sport at the World Championship? I don’t want a bunch of asshats (Thanks Jeff) representing the sport just because they are fast.
Overall, I am very happy with these changes. I can’t really say they personally affect me as I am still 11 races away from qualifying for the legacy program and have never entered the general lottery. Still, I think it is good for the sport. The WTC appears to be listening to the triathlon community and making changes based on their feedback. My only criticism (and I don’t expect this to change) would be for the WTC to recognize non-WTC iron distance races as part of the qualification of the Legacy Program. It would be nice, but I understand they have a brand to protect and will most likely continue to do so whether we like it or not.
How do you feel about the changes? Have you ever entered (or plan to enter) the Kona lottery?