Nov 01

Ironman Kona Lottery Changes

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?

Permanent link to this article: http://www.ironmanbythirty.com/2011/11/01/ironman-kona-lottery-changes


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  1. Jon

    Personally Kona is not a goal of mine. Not sure why, but it doesn’t intrique me to race that race. Guess my mind is just not there yet?

    I think this lottery change is for the better. It definately shows that WTC cares more about us, the athlete, more than we think. And I think this will fullfill some Ironman’s dreams.

    The lottery change certainly doesn’t hurt anything.

    Thanks for posting!
    Jon recently posted..I just signed up for 11 Ironman races for 2012

  2. BDD

    Its an improvement, if we want to talk about stop watering it down, then we need to talk about stop letting celebrities into this race with out earning it!!! There are plenty of other 140.6 races that WTC can send them off to for their PR. At least the people who put in for the lottery, the majority of them are already triathletes and get what the sport is about. When we watch the Kona special, we never talk about the celebrities, we all are sobbing tears of joy for the ag’ers, the ones that over came great odds to do that race and the midnight stories.
    BDD recently posted..The Dumbest Product of the Month – The Speedfit Mobile Treadmill

  3. Jason @ Cook Train Eat Race

    It is not a bad idea. It engages participation and also helps them keep their brand going by having the races be Ironman.

    I will say that I have to wonder if this is all in regards to new series and races coming on board. Rev3 gaining popularity. HITS being introduced. Iron Mi as you know just being announced. More and more competition and so part of me feels as if this wasn’t for the athlete but more to protect their brand.

    Look at 5150 getting hammered and little to no participation. Why? Because they are expewnsive and people are not going to travel for an Olympic.

    Also, did you know that in Dec 2012 HITS will have a national championship? They have a year to build their brand and I guarantee WTC looked at that and their costs and said we need to do something.

    Smart play on WTC behalf but let’s not kid ourselves into thinking this was all for us the Age Grouper.

    Now I have not raced 140.6 at all so I am pretty far behind the process but I do want to race Kona and right now I want to get there on talent not longevity. Not sure why b/c 12 IMs is ELITE.
    Jason @ Cook Train Eat Race recently posted..Happy Halloween

  4. Matt Smith

    So should I start this year to enter the lottery with hopes that in ten years, I will have “ten balls” and a better chance to get a slot at Kona? That didn’t quite sound right, did it? Or, maybe I should just get faster. Hmmm, I doubt that’s gonna happen, so maybe I’ll just got and WATCH one year!
    Matt Smith recently posted..Super Sunday

  5. Jeff

    I got nothing. Just glad to see the word asshat being used more and more.
    Jeff recently posted..Oh Marathoning …

  6. Colleen

    I love the word asshat, although I kind of liked assauge that MZ used… kind of like ass-sausage, but not. 🙂

    It doesn’t affect me… I will only go as a spectator some day.

  7. Mandy

    I don’t mind the changes, the only freaking way I am going to Kona is through the lottery so if my chances improve, all the better. I don’t think it waters it down at all.
    Mandy recently posted..Moxie Bald Mountain Hike

  8. Lazy Runner

    I am happy with the changes because this is the only chance that I have to ever make it to Kona…. (I guess I have to actually do an Ironman first… or wait, learn how to swim and buy a bike)

    11 more to go! Proud of you buddy!!!
    Lazy Runner recently posted..2011 Marine Corps Marathon DEBRIEFING

    1. Ironman By Thirty (Kevin)

      Hey man, don’t let the swimming or lack of bike stop you! I couldn’t even swim a single length of the pool without gasping for air at the other end 4 years ago when I started. Those first few months were brutal, but I still remember texting my wife after I finished my first straight half mile and then first full mile. As for a bike, my first season was on a 35 year road bike that my dad bought as a teenager that I pulled out of storage. It wasn’t the prettiest thing in the world, but there was nothing more satisfying than passing someone on a bike that cost $3000.

      If you are ever seriously interested in doing a tri, feel free to ask any questions you might have.

      Congrats again on the huge PR and BQ!

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