WTC Sends Proposed Rule Changes To Professionals

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The World Triathlon Corporation, owners of the Ironman and Ironman 70.3 series, sent out this email to triathlon professionals on Friday, June 25 outlining proposed changes to the way athletes are awarded prize money and given slots to championship events. Athletes were encouraged to give their feedback on the proposed changes. A few athletes, including three-time Ironman World Champion Chrissie Wellington, have publicly voiced their opinion on the possible changes. The email says that the WTC intends to announce final rules on July 9.

See the complete email below:

Ironman Professional Athletes


WTC is circulating this document to all its pro members. The policies and rules changes stated in this document are not final.

Before announcing a final version of these rules and procedures, WTC will take into consideration all constructive comments from our pro members. Comments must be submitted to no later than July 2nd, Tampa USA dateto be considered. Please include your name and pro number on all comments.

WTC intends to publish the final version of these rules and policies on July 9th with the changes having an effective date of September 1st 2010.

These new rules and polices are the product of long-hours of debate and consideration by WTC’s pro working committee. The committee concluded that the current pro incentive policies, which have been in place for over 25 years, are outdated and that the new rules and policies are best calculated to achieve these five primary goals:

* Rewarding the sport’s best athletes for their performances

* Creating income opportunities for new and regional pros

* Qualifying the most deserving athletes to the World Championships

* Controlling the number of athletes qualifying for the World Championships to assure fair and exciting racing

* Creating additional media interest in pro races through points standings and more frequent head-to-head racing


Overview and Philosophy/Rationale

The objectives in creating a points based World Championship qualifying system for pros are to assure that the most deserving athletes qualify and to limit the number of athletes in order to assure fair and exciting racing.

Pro Qualifying Program – Kona World Championships


* “Kona Qualifying” means qualification to the Ford Ironman World Championship held in Kona, Hawaii each year.

* “Races” means Ironman branded full-distance and Ironman 70.3 events worldwide that are authorized by the World Triathlon Corporation.

* “Qualifying Year” means the period between September 1st and August 31st.

* “Kona Pro Rankings” (KPR) means the ranking system to determine pro athlete eligibility to race at Kona.

Effective Sept. 1, 2010, the single-performance slot based system will be discontinued.

Beginning with Races on Sept. 1, pro athletes will earn points for Kona Qualifying correlating to their finish position. The top 50 male and top 30 female pros* in the KPR at the end of each Qualifying Year will qualify to race in Kona.

(* The proportion of male to female pros may be adjusted in future years to reflect the then current percentage of registered male and female WTC pro members.)

KPR will be determined as follows:

* Athletes will be ranked according to the number of points that he or she has accumulated during the Qualifying Year. See the Points Table below.

* Each athlete’s five highest scoring Races will count toward their KPR. All lower scoring Races will be “thrown out”.

* Athletes may accumulate points from any combination of Races PROVIDED that each athlete completes a minimum of one full-distance Ironman race during the Qualifying Year. A maximum of three Ironman 70.3 races are included in an athlete’s score.

* Athletes are not required to do more than one full-distance Ironman race in the Qualifying Year to be ranked. Athletes may score five full-distance Ironman races.

* Athletes finishing the Ironman World Championship (Kona) race will be awarded points that are retained during the Qualifying Year.

* Scoring points in Kona DOES NOT fulfill the requirement that each ranked athlete must score in a full-distance Ironman during the Qualifying Year.

* No points carry forward from one Qualifying Year to the next.

* The 5% rule is no longer applicable.

Example/Fast Freddy

Based on his 5 highest scoring results after September 1, 2010

Race Place Points

2010 IM Kona 2nd 2200
2010 AP 70.3 Championship 1st 1500
2011 $75,000 IM 3rd 780
2011 $50,000 70.3 1st 500
2011 $15,000 70.3 1st  250
2011 $50,000 70.3 2nd 440
Total Points 5,230

Example/Steady Eddy

Based on his 5 highest scoring results after September 1, 2010

Race Place Points

2010 IM Kona 32nd 150
2010 $25,000 IM 7th 260
2011 $75,000 IM 20th 20
2011 $25,000 IM 7th 260
2011 $25,000 IM 5th 300
2011 $25,000 IM 3rd 390
Total Points 1,120

Automatic Qualifiers – Kona

Past Kona champions will receive an invitation/exemption to enter the pro division in Kona for a period of three years after his or her last championship. Past champions will not be required to qualify during this three-year period. Past champions entering as pros will be required to validate their entry by completing a full-distance Ironman race during the Qualifying Year.

In keeping with the tradition started by Valerie Silk, past champions will continue to have a lifetime invitation to race in their appropriate age group category. Past champions making this election will not be required to qualify or validate their entry. Past champions must abide by all WTC, national and international federations rules regarding professional and age group status and switching between these categories.

Automatic Qualifiers will be accepted into Kona in addition to the 80 available pro slots. If, for example, a returning champion is ranked in the top 30 women, the 31st ranked woman will qualify for Kona.

Entry & Roll-Down

The final KPR will be published as soon as possible after the last Race of the Qualifying Year (end of August) but not later than September 1st. Qualified athletes will have until September 3rd* to complete on-line registration for Kona. An on-line roll-down will be held for any unclaimed slots with entries rolling down to the next highest ranked athlete. Details of the roll-down procedure will be made available at a later date

(* Tampa, Florida USA date)

Wild Card Entries

In 2011 and following transition years, WTC retains the right to award “Wild Card” pro entries into Kona. While Wild Card entries may be awarded at the sole discretion of WTC, these entries, if used, are intended to “fix” any holes in the new qualifying system. Wild Card entries are not intended to provide any athletes relief due to injury, illness or other external factor.

70.3 World Championship Qualifying

Pro qualifying for the 2011 Ironman 70.3 World Championship will be based on a similar format with the primary difference being that full-distance Ironman races will not count in the pro rankings for this Championship. Details will be announced as soon as the 2011 Ironman 70.3 World Championship race date is announced.


All Ironman races will comply with these prize money standards (This does not include the two World Championship events which have separate prize standards)

Championship Events

* Ironman $100,000+ (Paying through 10th Place)

* 70.3 $75,000+ (Paying through 10th Place)

Including Asia Pacific 70.3, U.S. 70.3, European 70.3 and regional Ironman championships to be announced

Ironman Series Events

Ironman Series events will offer total prize purses in one of two amounts:

* $25,000 (Paying through 5th Place)

* $75,000 (Paying through 8th Place)

70.3 Series Events

Ironman 70.3 Series events will offer total prize purses in one of two amounts:

* $15,000 (Paying through 5th Place)

* $50,000 (Paying through 8th Place)


* The total amount of 2011 prize money will exceed the total amount of prize money offered in 2010.

* At minimum 2010 events will pay prize money as advertised.

* The 8% Rule is no longer applicable.

* The prize money break-down for each prize purse amount and the 2011 event listing will be provided at a later date.


* A one-day Pro License will be offered to allow local and regional pros to compete at events in areas of the world where there is only one Ironman race such as 70.3 Philippines. A one-day license will be more affordable for these athletes to participate in one event. The suggested one-day fee is $250 USD for 70.3 races and $500 USD for full Ironman races. One-day licenses may be “upgraded” to an annual license with the one-day fee credited toward the annual $750 fee.

* A Pro membership ‘scholarship’ program will be available to waive or reduce membership fees for athletes from developing countries who can’t afford to pay the membership fee. Local Ironman race directors will recommend deserving athletes.

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