Ironman has announced a new age-group slot allocation process for the World Championship in Kona, with slot allocation and Rolldown now combined into one ceremony. Athletes now need to claim their slot in person at an allocation ceremony, or else lose it to the next qualifying athlete in their age-group. At least one qualifying slot will be allocated per age-group, with more slots to be allocated based on the number of athletes starting the race.
In the past, athletes could automatically qualify by finishing before a set cut-off time, without needing to attend the Rolldown ceremony. An explanation of the rules appears on the Ironman.com website and include the following:
-Anyone who wishes to claim a Rolldown slot must attend the Ironman World Championship Slot Allocation and Rolldown Ceremony and claim their slot in person.
– If an automatic qualifier in an Age Group chooses not to take the slot, does not attend the Ironman World Championship Slot Allocation and Rolldown Ceremony, or has already qualified, the next eligible finisher in that Age Group may claim the slot that has rolled down.
– If there are no more eligible finishers in a particular Age Group or no other finishers in attendance at the Ironman World Championship Slot Allocation and Rolldown Ceremony in that Age Group, that unclaimed slot will be reallocated to another Age Group within the gender based on the athletes-to-slots ratio.
– The Age Group within the gender with the largest athletes-to-slots ratio will receive the first reallocated slot, followed by the next largest ratio receiving the second re-allocated slot (if applicable), and so on.