Back to the future: KPR out, Pro slots in for Kona and 70.3 World Championships
Introduced in 2010 (HERE), effective for the 2019 qualifying season – which starts with IRONMAN Wales on Sunday 9th September 2018 – the Kona Pro Ranking process is finished. Qualification for the IRONMAN and IRONMAN 70.3 World Championships for Professional athletes will return to a slot-based allocation, rather than the accumulation of rankings points over a season.
There’s quite a lot in this – and a few thoughts and assumptions arise too, which I’ll expand on later today – but for this morning, here are the facts as issued by IRONMAN.
PRO QUALIFYING FOR IRONMAN WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP AND IRONMAN 70.3 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP RETURNS TO SLOT-BASED ALLOCATIONS FOR 2019
Beginning with the 2019 qualifying year for both the IRONMAN® World Championship and IRONMAN® 70.3® World Championship, the KPR and 70.3PR will no longer be used as the qualifying systems for the professional field. The current points-based system will be replaced by and return to a slot qualifying system. The change aligns with the global age-group system with qualifying slots being allocated to IRONMAN and IRONMAN 70.3 events on the global pro calendar for the respective world championship races.
The guaranteed base slot allocations will be equal for both male and female professional athletes, with additional slots being allocated and distributed to events based on the number of professional starters. The Regional Championship events will be assigned the greatest number of qualifying slots of any event on the pro circuit. Each qualifying IRONMAN or IRONMAN 70.3 event will have at a minimum one men’s and one women’s professional slot.
For the global 2019 IRONMAN professional calendar, the number of IRONMAN World Championship slots is expected to be approximately 100, similar to the current total allocation. Based upon the global 2019 IRONMAN 70.3 professional calendar, the current two-day format of the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship could allow for up to 170 professional athletes split between the days.
The five-year World Champion exemption will remain in effect, with the addition of a one-year exemption for IRONMAN World Championship podium finishers and a reciprocal exemption invitation to the IRONMAN 70.3 World Champion. All exemptions remain subject to completion of a validation race and remain additional to the guaranteed allocations to qualifying events.
“Finishing atop the podium at an IRONMAN or IRONMAN 70.3 event is a great accomplishment and the reward for that should be a place at the starting line at the World Championship events,” said Andrew Messick, Chief Executive Officer for IRONMAN. “The return to the slot system celebrates our champions and IRONMAN host communities around the world and changes the focus squarely back to recognizing great performances on race day. If you win you are in, and athletes will no longer need to calculate how to plan their race schedule to qualify.”
Qualifying for the 2019 IRONMAN World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawai`i will begin on September 9, 2018 with slots being awarded at IRONMAN Wisconsin and IRONMAN Wales.
Qualifying for the 2019 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship in Nice, France will begin on July 8, 2018 with slots being awarded at IRONMAN 70.3 Jönköping and IRONMAN 70.3 Ecuador.
The KPR and 70.3PR Pro qualifying systems remain in effect with respect to qualifying for the 2018 IRONMAN® World Championship and 2018 IRONMAN® 70.3® World Championship.