11 Ways to get to Kona

For long-course triathletes, the IRONMAN World Championship is the pot of gold at the end of a rewarding season of training. Here’s your roadmap.

Every year, more than 2,200 hard-working athletes have the chance to compete at the iconic IRONMAN World Championship on the Island of Hawai’i. It was there that Dave Scott and Mark Allen battled head to head in 1989’s “Iron War.”

It was there that IRONMAN legend Paula Newby-Fraser earned her historic eight victories. It continues to be where thousands of athletes have overcome illness and injury, fighting through their own—or sometimes others’—mental, emotional, and physical hardships.

The historic finish line on Ali’i Drive has become synonymous with big dreams, and even bigger accomplishments. It is the place where the IRONMAN mantra, “ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE”, pulses to the beat of the Hawaiian drum.

And we want to help you get there.

  1. Standard qualification: Every year, age-group athletes compete in full-distance races globally for one of only a handful of highly coveted slots to the IRONMAN World Championship. This route demands a lot of blood, sweat, and sometimes tears, as athletes compete against their fellow age-groupers for slots. Each of the 40 full-distance IRONMAN races in the 2017 qualifying series offers a different number of Kona qualification slots, which are then divided up according to the size of their respective age-group
  2. Qualify in China: Once again, this year our IRONMAN 70.3 races in China will be the only half-distance events where athletes can qualify for Kona. Pick a race, and get planning, you’re in for a treat:IRONMAN 70.3 Liuzhou: April 1, 2017—30 qualifying slots.
    IRONMAN 70.3 Qujing: August 27, 2017—30 qualifying slots.
  3. IRONMAN Legacy Program: The IRONMAN Legacy Program, now in its sixth year, rewards our most loyal athletes with a chance to compete in Kona. These athletes became eligible for selection based on a) completed a minimum of 12 full-distance IRONMAN races; b) never started the iconic IRONMAN World Championship; c) have completed at least one IRONMAN event in each of the 2015 and 2016 seasons; and d) be registered for an IRONMAN event in 2017. This year, we have added 100 additional Legacy slots to the annual 100, for a total of 200.
  4. IRONMAN Kona Drawing benefiting The IRONMAN Foundation: This year, The IRONMAN Foundation is offering a drawing for 10 slots, with a suggested (tax deductible) donation of $50.00 to benefit the Foundation’s charitable giveback in communities around the world. The drawing will begin on Friday, February 24, 2017, and finish on Friday, March 24, 2017 at 12 pm ET . Selected athletes will be announced on Friday, March 31. Click here to enter the drawing.Related Article: 39 Things You Didn’t Know About Kona
  5. Physically Challenged Open/Exhibition Division Drawing: To honor the vision of IRONMAN co-founders, John and Judy Collins, IRONMAN remains committed to providing athletes of all abilities a means of entry to the world’s most challenging and prestigious one-day endurance event. Through the Physically Challenged Open/Exhibition Division Drawing, five physically challenged athletes from around the world will be drawn to receive entry to the 2017 IRONMAN World Championship. Further guidelines and registration information can be found at ironman.com/pcdrawing.
  6. IRONMAN Foundation annual Kona auction: Beginning on April 1, 2017, one slot will be auctioned off each week for five weeks on eBay. The first four slots will benefit the IRONMAN Foundation Community Fund and will be 100 percent tax deductible less the value of the race registration (minimum opening bid of $25,000). Visit the IRONMAN Foundation website for more information. For the second year, The IRONMAN Foundation will offer a fifth slot (also 100 percent tax deductible) with 100 percent of the funds going to support Women For Tri — a program of the IRONMAN Foundation that works to increase female participation at all levels of triathlon (minimum opening bid of $25,000).
  7. Women For Tri slots: The Women For Tri initiative will also allocate one additional slot to a female triathlete who both a) embodies the spirit of Women For Tri through a compelling personal story that motivates and inspires other women to “Tri”; and b) raises or contributes at least $25,000 to the Women For Tri charitable, tax-deductible effort. This slot will be distributed via an application process. Additional details are available at the IRONMAN Foundation website.
  8. IRONMAN Executive Challenge: With 25 slots set aside for the IRONMAN World Championship, IRONMAN XC creates a true competition among peers at XC qualifying events, with top performers awarded IRONMAN World Championship slots. The program brings together executives at select events around the globe for a unique and ultra-personalized IRONMAN race weekend experience. This turn-key program streamlines all logistics surrounding an IRONMAN event and provide a white glove level of service. Additionally, family and guests experience VIP treatment throughout event weekend with a front row seat to all the action.
  9. Bonus Kona slots: This year, bonus slots to the IRONMAN World Championship were allocated to a few select races in different regions. Ten lucky athletes won the chance to race at Kona via a drawing relating to IRONMAN Boulder, taking place on June 11. IRONMAN Australia, taking place on May 7, 2017, provided a similar promotion with 10 entries to Kona. In the coming weeks, information will be provided on on a special opportunity for athletes racing at IRONMAN Maastricht – Limburg on August 6, 2017.
  10. Japan to Whistler to Kona! This year, an additional 20 qualifying slots to the IRONMAN World Championship in Kona, Hawai’i, are up for grabs for Japanese nationals racing IRONMAN Canada. These slots will be allocated based on the athlete’s Age-Group Ranking upon conclusion of the race. Click here for more information.
  11. IRONMAN 70.3 Hawaii, Honu to Kona: Thanks to the Island of Hawai’i Visitor’s Bureau, 10 Kona slots are on offer to anyone who registers for IRONMAN 70.3 Hawaii by May 1, 2017. Click here for more information.

Ironman Quest for Kona New TV Series Casting Call

Begin your IRONMAN journey and star in your own 30-minute show.

The series, scheduled to air in the fall of 2017, will profile ten athletes from around the world as they embark on the path to qualifying for the most iconic single-day endurance event, the IRONMAN World Championship which takes place in Kailua-Kona, Hawai’i.

Each episode will feature one charismatic and engaging contender as they take on a specific IRONMAN qualifying event, capturing the breathtaking scenery, local culture and unique athletic challenges that each setting presents. While not every athlete may ultimately qualify, each will show that IRONMAN is about persevering, enduring and being a part of something larger than themselves, proving that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE®.

Self-shot footage will be utilized to capture each person’s real-time journey as a supplement to the broadcast content. “IRONMAN: Quest for Kona” takes aspirational athletes and puts their mission front and center, inviting viewers to experience the personal highs and lows of each pursuit.
Casting for the new series is now open globally. Consideration for the first round of selections are due no later than 11:59 p.m. ET on February 6, 2017

Longmont Dentist Wins Entry to IRONMAN World Champs in Kona

From the Washington Post

– Associated Press
Saturday, December 31, 2016

LONGMONT, Colo. (AP) – Tom Bogan’s childhood memory of nearly drowning in a Boulder pool scared him out of the water until about five years ago, when he committed to learning to swim.

“I remember distinctly breathing water in and out of my lungs,” he said of the experience.

The Boulder dentist and Longmont resident is now a two-time Ironman, who swims, runs, cycles and lifts weights up to 14 hours a week as training for his next races.

He was surprised to learn recently that he was the first of 10 Ironman Boulder 2017 entrants chosen at random to compete in the Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii – a qualification-only race for a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and 26.2-mile run.

Ironman Boulder race director Dave Christen said he scheduled a root canal under a fake name to sneak his way into Bogan’s north Boulder office for the surprise, broadcasting it live on Facebook.

Read the full story.

 

Watch Dave meet up with Dr. Bogan on FB live

Weekend Preview: Dreaming of Warm Weather?

Triathlon Events

Saturday Dec. 10th

 

NBC Presents 2016 IRONMAN World Championships

Watch all the coverage you missed while out on the course from the comfort of your favorite chair.



Cycling Events

Saturday Dec. 10th

 

Colorado State CX Championships

Westminster Park


 

Learn the Velodrome

USOTC, Colorado Springs


 

24hr Trainer Challenge

Pedal Station, Colorado Springs


Sunday Dec. 11th

 

Colorado State CX Championships

Westminster Park


 

24hr Trainer Challenge

Pedal Station, Colorado Springs

Kona Recap by 303’s 719 Rep Nicole

(Originally published on http://neoendurancesports.com)

I feel extremely lucky to have had the opportunity to travel with 303Triathlon to the 2016 IRONMAN World Championships in Kailua-Kona, Hawai’i. While it was a “working trip,” that work was about reporting on the event experience. In order to do that, I had to participate in as much as I could!

There was a lot packed into my week there, so I’ll share the highlights, observations, and some general thoughts on the experience.

  • I treasured the opportunity to swim in Kailua Bay. This is the starting point of an event that tests even the best of athletes. In addition to it being a beautiful swim, to know that the legends of the past, present, and future swim here is inspiring.
Athletes doing a practice swim at the starting point of IRONMAN World Championships in Kona,.
Where it all starts. Dig Me Beach in Kailua-Kona.

 

  • The athletes that get here put in a tremendous amount of work to do so. The commitment to do what it takes to be in the IRONMAN World Championships can be applied to any aspect of your life.
Athletes in transition making final preps before the race start of the 2016 IRONMAN World Championship
Athletes in transition making final preps before the race start
  • It is truly an international event, and great to see where everyone is from in the Parade of Nations. 64 countries were represented this year, including a female from Iran. Walking around the streets of Kona you hear many different languages.
German athletes in the Parade of Nations at the 2016 IRONMAN World Championships.
The Germans may have been the most enthusiastic bunch!
Two athletes from Iran, in the Parade of Nations at the 2016 IRONMAN World Championships, including the first ever female.
Two Iranian athletes in the Parade of Nations
  • There is a lot of tradition in this event. It’s an opportunity to learn about Hawaiian culture in addition to racing. And eat some new foods. The way tradition and ritual is built into the event makes it more than just another championship race.

    • There are educational opportunities in addition to social activities. (It’s possible to do too much, but if you choose events and rest times carefully, you can make it work!)

Dana, Coach Nicole, and Michelle of 303triathlon.com at the thank God I'm Not Racing Party hosted by Bob Babbitt

Dana, Coach Nicole, and Michelle at the Thank God I’m Not Racing Party with our medals!

    • There are different levels of athletes racing here. I’m sure there were a few exceptions, but it seemed everyone was thankful and appreciative that they had the opportunity to race on the big island.
Patrick Lange celebrates with the crowd at the 2016 IRONMAN World Championships after coming in 3rd.
Patrick Lange celebrates with the crowd after coming in 3rd place
    • Volunteers are critical for this event. Thousands of them! They didn’t seem to mind getting up at 3am or standing out in the heat for long periods of time. Without volunteers there couldn’t be an event.
One of the many volunteers needed for the 2016 IRONMAN World Championships.
One of the many transition volunteers
  • The energy of the finish line is incredible. People stay and cheer for hours, all the way until the final finisher crosses the line.

 

  • My final thoughts: Work hard for what you want, play hard, and be sure to enjoy the opportunities that come your way.
Coach Nicole and the 303triathlon.com team taking a lunch break at the 2016 IRONMAN World Championships
Coach Nicole and the 303Triathlon.com team

Kona 2016 “It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time” – Race Recap

img_2568By Michael Breyer

For those of you who do Sufferfest Videos (confession: I’m not one of you, but Khem is so I get called upstairs not infrequently when there’s something funny on the screen while she’s working out) – you know “It Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time” is never true.

I was fortunate to punch my Kona ticket more than a year ago at Wisconsin and got to prepare for the race without the specter of actually needing to qualify for it.  But there was one big problem: and as typical it all started at mile 11 of the run…
It’s heeeeeere

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Kona Week is insane.  And this time there was no escaping it.  The last 2 trips to Kona we stayed about 4-5 miles south on Ali’i Dr at a secluded VRBO.  A great lanai, peace and quiet, away from the craziness of downtown Kona – a cute and charming beach town that gets over-run by people like me and (Richard) Byyny the second week of October.

img_2501
The famous Banyan tree on Ali’i

 

 

But this time we opted for staying at the King K Marriott – the host hotel and headquarters.  And sure enough, day 1 there’s multi-time Kona winner Paula Newby-Frazer in the lobby chatting with one of her athletes, a gaggle of pro’s hanging by the pool, Craig Alexander being Craig Alexander.

It was all a bit intimidating but I’m just an age-grouper who got a ticket to the show by the skin of his teeth so I chose to ignore much of it and hop on my bike with Byyny.

Byyny is also insane.  36 hours before we race and there we are biking the Queen K in the heat of the day when the winds are also the worst, him with a Go Pro that he jerry-rigged to his aero-bars (and then to mine) as we pound out some watts and hope the semi’s miss us (they did).

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Then we swam at his resort (hint: not the Marriott)…  PS: we both swam 1000m.

swim-compareHere’s the data from the swim:

 

 

Kona atmosphere – It’s just off the hook.  Go to Lava Java, order some pancakes, grab a seat and I guarantee within 20 minutes you’ll see at least 4 pro’s and Dave Scott.  I chatted with all the founders of Cervelo over a latte at Evolution who to my great surprise still didn’t offer to put me on a new P5x for free..

All the industry people are there, everyone is ripped, no one is taking this race lightly, no one is up past 8pm and everyone is out for a practice run on Ali’i by 5am, 6 at the latest.

Kona is a celebration of all things triathlon, which has its good and bad, but the key word is celebration.  Unbridled love and passion for our sport.  If you’re not excited there’s something wrong with you.

img_2517Build – There are only 3 disciplines to triathlon and I’m pretty bad at 2 of them.  I knew I didn’t have the motivation to work on my swim and historically I bleed time on the run so after Whistler I decided to try to run 500 miles in 10 weeks.  It took me seven.  I read a bunch about how to do this safely and then I abused my Treadmill with the following plan:
50% at slower than Ironman pace30% at Ironman pace20% at threshold or VO2 max pace (those days were rough)
As it’s me I also got a little crazy and competitive with it.  One morning, I woke up and ran a marathon on the Mill.  26.2 miles on the TM – thank you Royal Tenenbaums, US Open Tennis coverage and Ke$ha for getting me through that one.  At least 1, sometimes 2 long runs of 18+ miles/week.  I hurt my left quad once and had to take 3 days off, then 2 weeks later my right quad (2 days off) and finally after one run I slipped getting out of my hot-tub and thought for a minute I broke my hip.  I was a mess but by the end of it I finally had something I never had before – a running base.
img_2486*New yellow bike shoes – bad idea as you’ll soon find out

Raceday

Swim I thought I had a good swim.  Clean water, didn’t take too much contact, followed one guy for the majority of it, conserved energy.  And yet I came out and had another crummy time, perhaps because I don’t swim.  K2 I’m enrolling us in swim lessons at the Y this winter.

Swim Time: 1:17 Swim Pace: 2:00/100mRank: AG: 228/254, OA: 1792/2316 (At least I beat 26 guys in my AG out of the drink)

finisherpix_1369_113786
T1 – So those new yellow bike shoes in the picture from before?  For the life of me I could not get them on after the swim.  Plus the pier is super long and you have to run ALL the way around it to fetch your bike, which I proceeded to run past.  Twice.  14 Ironman races and I still make all the mistakes.
Time: 5:24 (!)
Bike – Hopped on my bike and re-grouped mentally.  Swim doesn’t matter, neither does T1.  But you know what matters?  The bike.

img_2479*Okay, let’s geek out for a minute.  2015 Trek SC 9.9, rode Zipp 808 in the back, 303 in the front (for those of you who will KQ in the future: take it from me do not ride anything deeper than about 50mm there), new Ossymetric rings (56/42) which looks like a large square dinner plate and supposedly improves power, 25mm Continental GP4000S II tires with latex tubes and an extra water bottle on the frame.  It’s fast.

I was going along, minding my own business, averaging 24.6mph through the first 18 miles on 250 watts when the winds hit.  They always hit you at Kona but some years are worse than others (2004, 2014 among the worst, 2013 among the best).  The fact that they started up so early was a bad sign.  Primarily a headwind with some cross and it’s Kona so we’re not talking about a little 5 mph breeze.  Lean the bike into the wind and focus.  Keep the wattage the same.  My speed over similar terrain dropped from 25mph to 15mph.  It’s demoralizing but I took a breath, smiled and told myself it’ll get better which is typically true but as this is Kona there’s also a chance it’s not.

img_2549We did get a bit of a tail wind at around mile 48 as we began the climb up to Hawi, about 12 miles away.  Got to see the pro’s shooting down from Hawi – Frodeno, Kienle and Hoffman leading the men, Ryf a couple of suburbs away from her competition.  Bunch of motorcycles with tech support, NBC cameras, 2 helicopters, pace car – it was quite the procession.  Then the top male AGer’s who all look like pro’s.

Finally, the turn around at Hawi and pray you survive the descent.  The wind was blowing hard and a couple of huge wind gusts knocked me and my bike several feet to the side – it was downright frightening.  I can’t imagine how some of the smaller athletes or those who rode deeper front wheels fared.

img_4461*Jen Schafner – local lawyer, fellow Genesee resident, 3x Kona Qualifier, Coeur-sponsored and Koz’s wife – not to mention AG winner of Louisville last year and total BAMF.  Getting the work done on the Queen K.  And unless your name is Austin Johnson, John Anderson or Gwen Jorgensen, she also runs A LOT faster than you.

You get back on the Queen K (the same road that had the bad head/cross winds before) hoping for respite but knowing what’s more likely in store and sure enough.. winds had changed direction so you get more head/crosswinds all the way home.  Re-think my sub-10 hour goal – I knew I needed perfect conditions to go 9-something and these were anything but.  Kept my head down, cadence high, system hydrated. Say a little prayer.
Bike Time: 4:59Bike Pace: 22.42mphNormalized Power: 247wRank: AG: 86/254, OA: 543/2316

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All the pros sign this placard in the King K hotel lobby

T2- And I couldn’t get my stupid yellow bike shoes off.  It took 3 volunteers about 2-3 minutes to rip them off my feet.  Unbelievable, I’m such an idiot.
Time: 6:07 (!!)

Run – I did the math and knew I needed about a 3:30 marathon to get under 10.  That’s a tall order for me – I may have some run fitness but it’s largely been untested and I knew it was pretty fragile.  Still, a 3:30 is 8-min miles so I tried to go out on Ali’i – a down and back of 10 miles that’s pretty flat – at a pace under that.  I was holding 7:45s.  Ran up the hill at Palani and high-fived Greg Welch who was announcing people on it.  Crowds were so big.
Turned onto the Queen K at Mile 11 to start the final 15 miles.

It was 89 degrees in Kona, and it was humid.  They say it’s at least a few degrees hotter on the Queen K.  Looked down at my watch – 7:54 average pace.  2 hours left and I set out to destroy myself to stay under an average 8-min pace.  I’ll save you the gory details and fast forward about 110 minutes but it wasn’t pretty.  I turned myself inside out to try to make it but by the time I climbed back up to Palani, my pace was 8:12 and I knew my chances to go sub-10 were over.  But I never gave up and while I may need new knees in a few years, I’m going with it was all worth it.

For anyone who doesn’t think adrenaline is a real thing, give an Ironman everything you have and then once you cross the finish line try to to walk.  How the legs can go from running to needing to be propped up by 2 people and hauled off to a lounge chair is a little beyond me.
Run time: 3:35 Run Pace: 8:13/mi
Total Time: 10:04 Rank: AG: 72/254, OA: 491/2316

Afterward – Found Byyny who looked like I felt.  He asked me to get him some pizza and broth.  img_2542No problem, it’s like 100 feet away in the athlete’s post-race area, let me get my walker and I’ll be back in about 45 minutes.  I returned a few minutes later only to discover Byyny and my thermos filled with delicious Kona coffee had vanished into thin air.  I looked everywhere for him and more importantly my thermos then thought maybe I was confused and left him somewhere else.  I started asking around if anyone had seen a 45yo male with a finisher’s medal around his neck who looked younger than stated age but as this was Kona that didn’t help narrow it down much.  I finally found him in the medical tent getting IV fluids so I texted his wife to come fetch him so I could begin my 2-hour walk back to my room 250 yards away.

We all rallied for a beer later and to see the Midnight Finishers.  A son finishing with his Dad.  A double arm amputee coming down the finishing chute.  Old guys, young ones, everyone freaking the you know what out.  It’s dark, it’s actually raining, it’s still warm out and Kona is going bonkers.

img_2566And then hung out with Miranda Carfrae.  And by hanging out I mean I snapped a photo as she talked to other people and signed autographs for them. Rinny is a total class act.

So that’s all I got.  3rd Kona and with the new slot rules making it more difficult to get in I’m not sure when or if I’ll make it back but either way that’s okay.  It’s been so much “fun” and I’ve appreciated every minute of it, even through all the suffering. Special thanks to everyone – ALL our families, friends and loved ones – for supporting, cheering us on and tolerating us!  Wheat Ridge Cyclery for the last minute work on the Breyermobile, as well as Team Timex, Team DGBG, RealRyder and 303Triathlon for all your support.  And good luck to the Wondercouple in Maui in 2 weeks… K2 please don’t drown.

Til’ next year,

Breyer

p.s. And finally: not to get political on everyone but with all the election garbage going on – a little video to restore some faith in humanity.

Kona Race Week Recap: Friday

Just hours until race start… Here’s all the last-minute happenings of the day:

 

This morning, Khem had a few moments to catch up with the 6-time IRONMAN World Champion in Kona. “The only bad race is one you don’t learn anything from…” – Mark Allen

 

60 Seconds in Kona: A Look at all the Rudy Helmets – Bike Check In 

 

TO & Rinny at Bike Check In
TO & Rinny at Bike Check In

 

IRONMAN Humanitarian Athletes:  Shiz Gerami, Iran’s first female IRONMAN Trathlete and Jeff and Johnny Agar

 

Another compelling Colorado Athlete in Kona profile, Steve Johnson

 

Be sure to check out the new photos added to our Kona Race Week Album!

 

We attended the “Thank God I’m Not Racing Party!” hosted by Bob Babbit

tginr-partytginr2

 

303’s Khem Suthiwan continued to add to her collection of celebrity selfies – be sure to check out the album!

 

303’s Michelle Bandur hit the bike check-in, checking in with all the big bike stops along the lane, and bumping into some of Ironman’s first competitors from 1978!

 

Several 303 staffers attended the USAT brunch at Daylight Mind Cafe, enjoying a wonderful buffet and even better company… here, Michelle Bandur asks USAT CEO Rob Urbach about USAT’s role in the Ironman World Championships.

 

During our time at the USAT brunch we spotted the official swim course buoys being placed – Michelle and Nicole explain how they are set and the overview of the swim course:

We had the privilege of test riding the newest Ventum bikes, and caught up with founder Jimmy Seear:

ventum

 

Early this morning all the 303 staffers took a nice long swim along the ocean course…

Here’s a glimpse at the actual swim stairs athletes will use to both enter and exit the water:

 

And, Race Director for North America, Dave Christen, reports he drank 31 bottles dcof water in one day and offers these tips for spectators (“‘taters”) on race day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Be sure to check out yesterday’s recap

And the recap for the previous week

Simon at 106 West
Simon at 106 West

D3 Multisport’s long-time Kona contender, Simon Butterworth, had this advice for his teammates:
“This IM stuff is a journey as you know.  Tomorrow as we run thru the Hot corner we will be able to answer the question of our family’s “Are we there yet” with a big yes.
Have a great day all fulfill your dreams.  ”