How to qualify for the Ironman Hawaii 2020
Jakob Ohlsen Published: 17th August 2019 | Updated: 23rd May 2020
The chance to participate at the Ironman Hawaii is a dream coming true for many triathletes. Besides the legendary competition, the competition site fascinates athletes and travellers with its breathtaking nature and of course the Spirit of Aloha. But how do you actually qualify for this race in paradise (and through hot lava fields)?
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, many qualification races have been cancelled or postponed. The Ironman WC is postponed to 6 February 2021. The exact modalities for the qualification have not been clarified at the moment. The exact modalities of the qualification are (probably) not conclusively defined at the moment.
According to the latest information, the following adjustments will be made to the qualification process of the Ironman WC 2020 [source]:
- The time frame of the slot distribution for the Ironman Hawaii will be extended.
- Additional Kona slots will be allocated at some of the races that are held.
- All athletes who are on the waiting list of the Ironman Legacy Program shall receive a slot for the Ironman World Championships 2020.
The information described below refers to the situation before the pandemic and is therefore probably partly outdated.
No claim is made to the completeness and accuracy of the information provided here. Further information can be found on the Ironman website. There you can find an overview with information in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Qualification at another Ironman competition
The majority of slots for the Ironman Hawaii will be awarded to the most successful age group athletes at 44 Ironman competitions across the globe. The best athletes of each age group are awarded with a Hawaii slot. In the 2018/2019 season, 1885 slots were distributed in this way.
Here you can find an overview of all Ironman Hawaii qualification races (slots, times, dates). The slot allocation procedure is described in more detail in this article.
With a few exceptions, 40 Kona slots are allocated at most Ironman races. The regional championships (Ironman Argentina, Ironman St. George, Ironman Cairns, Ironman Frankfurt, Ironman South Africa) each offer 75 slots for the Ironman Hawaii. Often, however, these races are attended by stronger athletes, so that it is not necessarily easier to qualify for the World Championship here.
Qualification in an Ironman 70.3 competition
Also at some races over the half Ironman distance, so called Ironman 70.3 races, slots for the Ironman Hawaii are be allocated. Besides the Ironman 70.3 Hawaii there are currently only four other races that offer the opportunity to qualify for Hawaii. With venues in Xi'an, Shanghai, Xiamen and Liuzhou these races are all situated in China.
Qualification at the Ironman Hawaii
Admittedly, this point is not a real option for Hawaii novices. For the sake of completeness, however, it should be mentioned that all age group winners of the Ironman Hawaii will automatically qualify for next year's event.
ca. 23 Slots
The Ironman Legacy Program
The Legacy Program allows experienced long distance athletes to participate in the Ironman Hawaii. To be eligible for the Legacy Program, an athlete must
- have completed at least 12 Ironman events,
- have never competed at the Ironman Hawaii,
- have completed at least one Ironman race in each of the previous two years and
- be registered for an Ironman race in the current year.
A total of 175 Kona slots are distributed via the Legacy Program. Athletes eligible to participate at the Legacy Programme can apply for a slot on the Ironman website. If there are more than 175 applicants, the First Come First Served principle applies.
Qualifikations as a pro athlete
Also professional athletes have to qualify for the Ironman Hawaii. Due to the limited number of pro-slots, these slots are particularly hard-fought about. In contrast to the age group slots not all Ironman races offer slots for pro athletes.
The winners of the Ironman Hawaii are automatically qualified for the next five years, they only have to confirm their slot by participating in at least one Ironman.
The second and third place finishers of the Ironman Hawaii are also automatically qualified for next year's race. They also have to validate their slots.
In addition, the champions of the Ironman 70.3 World Championship will qualify for the World Championship over the full Ironman distance in the following year. These slots must also be validated by finishing at least one Ironman race.
A total of 99 slots (56 men/ 43 women) were allocated in the 2018/2019 season.
The Ironman Foundation draws ten Hawaii slots each year among all of its supporters.
Kona-Slot ebay auction
For five weeks, each week a Kona slot is offered to the highest bidder. To be a successful bidder, however, you have to dig deep into your pocket. The opening bid of the Kona auction is $25,000. The proceeds of the auctions go to a good cause.
Women For Tri slot
A Kona slot is given to a selected and particularly active member of the Women For Tri initiative.
The Ironman Executive Challenge offers the participants a First Class Ironman starter kit. This includes VIP packages, special on-site support, and a starting place guarantee for selected Ironman races. The program is designed primarily for executives. Last but not least, 25 Kona slots will also be awarded to the best participants in this category.
The Kona Dreaming initiative of Ironman co-founders John and Judy Collins has raffled 40 Kona slots to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Ironman Hawaii. Whether this action will be repeated in the coming years is still unclear, but rather unlikely.