Monday, May 01, 2006

PS...

If you don't earn your way to Kona, and aren't fortunate enough to win a slot in the lottery, you can buy your way in via a handful of very precious charity slots.

And this is what they're worth...

5 comments:

RunIrisRun said...

And I thought paying 20 bucks to run a race in the middle of the wilderness where I fall and break a bone and then count the days until I can do it again was bad... but, $30,000? That's crazy!!!

xt4 said...

You broke a bone?!?!?!

Michael Anderson said...

Is entry into Kona earned by only the top athletes? Or is there some "first come, first served" involved? Seems odd to win entry in an online auction - though I'm sure still very exciting.

Iris, I hope you didn't break a bone and were just relating a veteran runner's story. Either way, hope you're doing well!!

xt4 said...

Each Ironman race worldwide has a certain number of entry slots per age group for the World Championship in Kona, and then there are a number of slots at some other sanctioned races and at Ironman 70.3 races (Ironman sanctioned Half Iron distances). Usually some 20-25 slots per race, with at least 1 slot per age group. So it might be, say, the top 5 people in my age group at Wisconsin go to Kona. If the number 5 person can't or doesn't want to go, then the 6th place person slides in. While I'm racing for a completely different purpose and with no ambition or practical thought whatsoever to qualifying for Kona, there are lots of racers out there that day that will be competing hard for one of those precious slots. That's a whole different kind of pressure, I think.

You generally have to race better than 10:15 to get to Kona - that's about an hour in the water, 5:30 on the run, and 3:30 on the marathon, with precious minutes for transition. It is, and is meant to be, a very difficult thing to do.

In addition, then, there are 200 slots that they give away by lottery. You just sign up (I think it's a $50 fee or something) and hope your name gets picked out of thousands. Some people enter the lottery for decades and never get in. Some on their first or second try. I've read stories about people who've "retired" from triathlon and got fat and lazy, but entered the lottery out of habit, only to one random year get in and suddenly have to get trained for Ironman in Kona. That's pretty cool.

It's the holy grail of triathlon. There is no greater race than Kona - everything else in triathlon is, whether one ever has ambitions to get there or not - prelude to it. The people that usually pay the billion dollars on ebay are usually millionaires - last year it was some dot.com guy that was one of them. Where $40k isn't the same to them as it would be to me, and it's a giant tax write-off for them as well. But as I said to Amy - dude better have a killer bike. Cuz I think it'd be funny to pay all that money and go to be with the superstars in Kona only to show up on some rusty old hack. Ha!

I think I have no problem with it. It's certainly less cool and noble than qualifying for real, and you definitely pay your way in. But the money all goes to charity, the people aren't taking any legitimate slots away from anybody, they won't be legitimate contenders to steal the crown from somebody who qualified for it, and if they can afford it and it's their only way - and if Kona is (clearly) that important to them, then more power to them.

I don't know if Kona has any place in my spectrum. I'd certainly love to do it, and maybe in a few years I'll start putting my name in the lottery. I don't think it's realistic that I'd ever qualify for Kona, and that's okay - I think if I got to a place where I was racing to beat other people before competing against myself, I'd have lost some of the reasons I do it in the first place...and the time and commitment required to become that sort of athlete - if it's even possible - are probably unrealistic for me. Probably I'll never get to Kona myself. That is, of course, unless I become a bagillionaire. Then expect to see my name at ebay.

RunIrisRun said...

The docs can't decide on the x-ray. It's either a stress fracture or a major bone contusion. Either way, I can't run, at least for awhile...
Even so, I'd do it all again. Trail races are major fun, part hiking, part rock climbing, part running like hell over crazy terrain. I thought I looked bad until I saw some guy with a gaping wound and blood everywhere. The things people do in the name of adventure.

Have a great race this weekend Chris. I'll be sending good vibes your way.