Monday, February 23, 2009

Lusting After Ironman

Every once in a while I get on tangents where I'm obsessed with various fitness finds. You already caught me on my skiing trip (be warned that may start again when I head to Colorado next week), but I've been known to dig deep for Olympic trivia, talk about spinning like I live on the bike (OK, in the winter I sort of do to keep in shape), lament about marathon woes and drone on about Ironman. I think I've behaved up to this point in the Ironman department, not talking too much about the sport, if at all. But with an important deadline approaching, the temptation to post was too hard to resist.

If you've ever considered racing an Ironman triathlon and either need some prodding to make it to the start line or consistently miss out by the races filling faster than you can sign up (OK, maybe not that fast but close), the Ironman lottery might be your ticket. And to the start line in Hawaii at the Ironman World Championships no less. Maybe you missed out on registering for one of the other 2009 North American races--Ironman Wisconsin, Coeur d'Alene, Lake Placid, Arizona, Florida and Louisville still have community spots open but the others in Canada and Cozumel are listed as closed--you can still snag a chance at reaching an Ironman finish line in 2009. But you have to act fast because the Ironman lottery closes on February 28.

For $35--nominal if you tally the $525 to enter the race plus the fees for getting and staying in Hawaii--you can give yourself a slight chance of gaining entry to the Ironman World Championships to be held in Kailua-Kona on the Big Island Oct. 10, 2009. The lottery will fill 150 spots for U.S. citizens--100 of which are reserved for Ironman Passport Club members--and 50 for international competitors. The odds of winning may not be high, but hey some chance is better than no chance.

Time is running out to nab even that slight chance of making it to the Big Island this October. The lottery registration closes at 11:59 p.m. PST on Feb. 28 with the lottery winners names to be announced on April 15. And while it might sound like it's impossible to have your name selected for one of 150 spots, 50 if you're an international racer or not in the Passport Club, it is possible.

A friend got lucky in 2007 and won a spot to the coveted race. She entered on a whim just before the deadline then found out a few months later that she could race in Kona. Talk about something too hard to pass up. It gets even better: She had 30 seconds of fame on TV, too. I'd post the video clip except the file seems to be corrupt, but she finished just ahead of Brian Boyle who was a feature story on the NBC broadcast of the race. Who says luck doesn't strike twice?

If you want a chance to race with some of the best triathletes at the Ironman distance, it's worth a shot to register. Just like me and my near-Ironman registrations for 2009 (I sat on the computer debating a sign-up for IM Florida and IM Louisville before talking myself out of it) I'm contemplating the chance to head to Hawaii. It might be the only chance I get on the famed course. Photo grabbed from talesfrom30b. Posted by Kate


  1. Question on this: If you're an everyday athlete, won't you feel totally out of your league amongst all the hardcore athletes who rocked their races to earn a coveted spot? Just curious...I think going to Hawaii for this event would be a-freaking-mazing, but then I think about the field and it makes a daunting day seem crazy scary!

  2. yes and no...even some of the top racers have off days and finish at average athlete times like Rutger Beke in 2007 (he had to walk the entire marathon). and I don't know how but people always finish right up to the cutoff. It's definitely daunting in the water if you watch the swim start, people clawing and pushing. But yet it's still a race that any Ironman wants to get to. In my friend's case she said she didn't stand a chance at qualifying so the lottery was a good way to try to get there. I agree, still scary, especially when you hear stories from those who have been there and describe the winds on the bike...and the heat!



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