On Wednesday, March 23, 2016, the Ironman triathlon brand announced new ways to gain entry into the coveted Kona Ironman. Historically, entry was accessed through qualification in other Ironman races, celebrity entries, charity entries and the lottery system.
In 2015, the Department of Justice ruled that the lottery system was against gambling rules and the Ironman group agreed to do away with the system they ran since 1983, while not agreeing with the DOJ’s ruling.
Fast forward to March of 2016, and the lottery system is back in a charity donation format. Read below for all historical and new ways athletes can grab an entry into the Kona Ironman from Ironman.com.
1. Standard qualification
Every year, age-group athletes compete in full-distance races globally for one of only a handful of highly slots. Each of the 39 full-distance IRONMAN races in the 2016 qualifying series offers a different number of Kona qualification slots, which are then divided up according to the size of their respective age-group.
2. Bonus Kona slots
This year, IRONMAN has allocated additional Kona slots to a few special races. As the last qualifying race of the 2016 season, IRONMAN Coeur d’Alene taking place on August 21, now offers a total of 65 slots to the 2016 event. To celebrate IRONMAN Switzerland’s 10th anniversary, a total of 65 slots are up for grabs at the July 24, race.
3. IRONMAN Kona Drawing benefiting The IRONMAN Foundation
This year, The IRONMAN Foundation is offering a drawing for 10 slots, with a suggested (tax deductible) donation of $50.00 to benefit the Foundation’s charitable giveback in communities around the world. The drawing will begin today (Wednesday, March 23, 2016) and finish on Friday, April 15, 2016, at 12 pm ET. Selected athletes will be announced on April 18. Click here to enter the drawing.
4. IRONMAN Foundation annual Kona auction
Beginning on April 18, one slot will be auctioned off each week for five weeks on eBay. The first four slots will benefit the IRONMAN Foundation Community Fund and will be 100 percent tax deductible less the value of the race registration (minimum opening bid of $10,000). Visit the IRONMAN Foundation website for more information. New for this year, a fifth slot (also 100 percent tax deductible) will be offered with 100 percent of the funds going to support the Women For Tri initiative (minimum opening bid of $25,000). This slot will be auctioned off once the auctions for the other four slots have concluded on May 16. Click here for more information.
5. Women For Tri slots
The Women For Tri initiative will also allocate one additional slot to a female triathlete who both a) embodies the spirit of Women For Tri through a compelling personal story that motivates and inspires other women to “Tri”; and b) raises or contributes at least $25,000 to the Women For Tri charitable, tax-deductible effort. This slot will be distributed via an application process. Additional details will be forthcoming.
6. IRONMAN Legacy Program
The IRONMAN Legacy Program, now in its fifth year, rewards loyal athletes with a chance to compete in Kona. These athletes became eligible for selection based on a) completed a minimum of 12 full-distance IRONMAN races; b) never started the iconic IRONMAN World Championship; c) have completed at least one IRONMAN event in each of the 2014 and 2015 seasons; and d) be registered for an IRONMAN event in 2016. This year, they have added 25 additional Legacy athletes to the annual 100 athletes selected for a total of 125. The full list of winners, which have been announced can be found here.