World Triathlon Corporation (WTC) announced the launch of the 2012 Ironman Lottery. Opening two days ago (Tuesday), Nov. 1, the Ironman Lottery will feature two enhancements, including the new Ironman Legacy Program. One hundred general age group athletes, 100 Legacy athletes and five physically challenged athletes will be selected to compete in the 2012 Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawai`i.
“As the popularity of the sport continues to grow, qualifying for the Ironman World Championship becomes more difficult. More than 70,000 athletes are competing for only a handful of coveted slots,” said Andrew Messick, CEO of WTC. “The Ironman Lottery provides another way for athletes to enter the race and cross the finish line on Ali`i Drive.”
Beginning in 2012, athletes will have an increased chance of being selected for the Ironman Lottery based on the number of years that they have entered. For each year an athlete has registered since 2001, his or her chances increase accordingly. For example, if an athlete registers for the 2012 Ironman Lottery and has registered for every lottery from 2001 through 2012, he or she will have 12 chances of being selected for a lottery slot into the 2012 Ironman World Championship. Passport Club membership would give that athlete an additional chance of being selected with a total of 13 lottery entries.
The newly launched Ironman Legacy Program will grant loyal Ironman athletes an opportunity to compete in Kona at least once in their lifetime. One hundred Legacy winners will be chosen by WTC and selection will be based on several criteria. To be eligible for selection in the Legacy Program, athletes must have completed a minimum of 12 Ironman-branded races, have never started the Ironman World Championship, have completed at least one Ironman event in each of the 2010 and 2011 seasons and be registered for an Ironman event in 2012.
“Ironman athletes are incredibly loyal to our sport and we want to continue to find ways to recognize that loyalty,” said Messick. “Kona is the symbolic and spiritual home of triathlon and people deeply involved in the sport should get the opportunity to experience that. While many serious athletes will qualify for a spot at the starting line, the Ironman Legacy Program is an equally difficult but different way for them to get there.” Messick continued, “The new aspects of the Lottery are meant to revitalize a program that’s part of our company’s rich history “one that ensures athletes committed to living the triathlon lifestyle get their chance to follow their dream to Kona. People who are serious about the sport deserve that chance.”
A mainstay in the history of Ironman, the Ironman Lottery began in 1983 thanks to the vision of one of Ironman’s founders, John Collins, as a way to provide athletes ranging in ability the opportunity to qualify for the world’s most challenging one-day endurance event. More than 7,000 athletes apply for the Ironman Lottery each year. In 1990, Ironman created the Passport Club, open to athletes worldwide. In addition to other member benefits, the Passport Club gives athletes an increased chance of being selected through the Ironman Lottery by offering them one additional entry.