New swim start for Kona, New Ironman pro prize purses, New regional championships

IRONMAN announces a new swim start for the IRONMAN World Championship, new professional prize purse for the Americas and new regional championships for 2015.

New swim start for Kona, New Ironman pro prize purses, New regional championships

This season the IRONMAN Series has attracted more than 200,000 registered athletes from 188 countries. With the addition of 24 new IRONMAN and IRONMAN 70.3 races in 2014, along with new races in 2015, IRONMAN has grown to include over 110 IRONMAN and IRONMAN 70.3 races spanning six continents and 27 countries. With this rapid growth IRONMAN announces three major changes to take place “one for the IRONMAN World Championship presented by GoPro taking place this October and two additional changes that will follow for the 2015 race season.

IRONMAN World Championship Swim Start

For the first time the age group athlete field will have two separate starts at the IRONMAN World Championship presented by GoPro. The men’s age group race will begin at 6:50 a.m., with the women’s age group race starting 10 minutes later at 7 a.m. The professional men’s field will start at 6:25 a.m., with the professional women beginning at 6:30 a.m.

“We are always looking for ways to improve our event and this change is the next progression, given how competitive the athlete field is at the starting line in Kailua-Kona,” said Diana Bertsch, Vice President, IRONMAN World Championship Events.

The decision to split the age group field was made following a thorough analysis of participant data and with the goal to reduce athlete density coming out of the water and on the bike course and to give female age group athletes their own swim start. The new start times will not change the existing cut off standards for the IRONMAN World Championship “2:20 for the swim and 10:30 for the bike. Athletes will also still have to reach the finish line within 17 hours to be official finishers of the race.

“The IRONMAN World Championship is the pinnacle of endurance events and all of our athletes deserve the highest quality race possible as they compete for top honor in our sport,” added Bertsch. “Our hope is that this new swim start will further enhance the quality of the race for all of our competitors.”

New start times

6:25 a.m. Pro Men

6:30 a.m. Pro Women

6:50 a.m. Age Group Men

7:00 a.m. Age Group Women

2015 Professional Prize Purse Structure

In 2015, IRONMAN will have a total professional prize payout of over $5 million – an increase from 2014. Debuting next year, IRONMAN will be shifting the Professional Prize Purse structure in the Americas at select IRONMAN and IRONMAN 70.3 races designated for professional competition. All other races will be age-group competition only. This change will feature the following enhancements:

  • Fewer focused professional races creating bigger prize purses in those races
  • All Championship races will pay first through 10th
  • A meaningful and regionally fair schedule that promotes more head-to-head competition between top professional athletes
  • Improved sequencing of events with consideration of World Championship

“This is a philosophical and concentrated move to provide our professional athletes with a competitive calendar and to help build rivalry and competition, while generating excitement around the races,” said Andrew Messick, Chief Executive Officer of IRONMAN. “This has been an important change that we have been working towards for the past six-months.”

Regional Championships in 2015

Also debuting in 2015 will be changes and additions to regional championship events including the following:

  • Memorial Hermann IRONMAN Texas on May 16, 2015 will become the Memorial Hermann IRONMAN North American Championship “Texas after two successful years in Mont-Tremblant.
  • IRONMAN Brazil on May 31, 2015 will become the IRONMAN Latin American Championship “Florianopolis.
  • Both of these races will be a P-4000 race “each offering a $150,000 professional prize purse.

In addition, the following will continue to be regional championships in 2015

  • IRONMAN Asia-Pacific Championship “Melbourne
  • IRONMAN European Championship “Frankfurt
  • IRONMAN 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championship “Auckland
  • Sparkasse Finanzgruppe IRONMAN 70.3 European Championship “Wiesbaden
  • Samsung Galaxy IRONMAN 70.3 Latin American Pro Championship “Panama
  • IRONMAN 70.3 North American Pro Championship “St. George

Beginning in 2015, each IRONMAN regional championship will offer a $150,000 prize purse to the male and female professionals which will be distributed amongst the first through 10th place finishers. IRONMAN 70.3 regional championships will offer male and female professional purses varying from $75,000 to $100,000, which will be distributed amongst the first through 10th place finishers. In addition all professional winners of regional championships will also receive automatic qualification to the respective IRONMAN World Championship or IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship races.