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Ironman now inviting AWA silver athletes to world championships in St. George

Ironman struggling to reach goal of 3,800 athletes in St. George

Photo by: Jordan Bryden

The Ironman World Championships invitation list has grown once again – yesterday All World Athlete (AWA) Silver athletes started receiving invitations to compete at this May’s Ironman World Championship in St. George.

As we pointed out a few weeks ago, Ironman has long had a process for non-qualified athletes to take part at it’s full-distance world championship. For many years that was achieved through a lottery process, but Ironman’s lottery was deemed illegal in 2015, so Ironman created a “Legacy” program that offered any athlete who had completed 12 Ironman events and had not competed at the world championship a chance to compete there. As with those who had qualified for the race, you still had to pay the race entry fee, but you got a chance to experience the once-in-a-lifetime event.

That program has backfired a bit – many athletes started jamming in multiple Ironman races in order to hit 12 and get a chance to compete. Ironman had no-doubt hoped that many people on the legacy list would jump at the chance to compete in St. George. For many, though, it would appear that the draw is more towards Kona than it is simple the world championship.

As we reported earlier, Ironman is aiming to get 3,800 people on the start line for the event in St. George. They started off with a list of qualifiers and legacy athletes who wanted to compete in St. George, they created a new list of “loyal” athletes and developed a “loyalty and legend” program – athletes who had competed in at least 20 Ironman races and have been racing at Ironman events for at least 20 years. Unlike “legacy” athletes, these competitors could have competed in Kona. Once Ironman had gone through that list, they started inviting AWA gold athletes. Now they’re inviting AWA silver athletes, which seems to indicate that the company is still struggling to get as many athletes entered in the race as they’d like. Based on the entry list on the event website, it looks like there are just over 2,600 athletes registered, not including the pros, who will likely number about 100. That’s up about 300 from two weeks ago, but still well short of that 3,800 goal.