Winning The Lotto

I make no secret about the fact that I want to race in the World Championships at Kona someday.  When that day comes I haven't got a clue.  It might happen in May or it may happen when I cross into the 80-84 Age Group but the dream exists.  Every year I watch the World Championship, even before I took up this lifestyle, and thought how amazing it would be to race in the event.  The history, the battle, the camaraderie, the event itself has always intrigued me and so when I say I want to race there someday it is more than just a bucket list item. In order to race in Kona you have to qualify and doing that is getting harder and harder every year as more and more people are joining the ranks of the Age Group Triathlete.  Athletes are getting faster and getting better equipment.  Nutrition is being a major focus and so getting to Kona is not just a punch the ticket and fly there type of activity. However, there is another way to get there.  You can submit your name into the lotto similar to what you do to enter into the New York City Marathon (one more rejection and I'm in by the way.) There are 200 slots open via the lottery so you have to be very very lucky in order to win the slot.  I have mixed emotions about the lotto for Kona.  Part of me says that it should be an exclusive event reserved only for the best who qualified, and the other part of me says that not the most die-hard triathletes are fast enough to qualify and so using the lottery system works. I had been keeping my thoughts to myself since the WTC didn't directly ask me about my feelings and their lottery.  Then one day they actually did.  Well they did not call me DIRECTLY but they did ask for opinions about how their lottery system should work.  I found the following post via ====================
Each year, approximately 110,000 athletes participate in Ironman and 70.3 Qualifier Series worldwide for their chance to qualify for the Ford Ironman World Championships in Kona. In 2010, 7,339 athletes entered the Ironman Lottery (which awards 200 Age Group and five Physically Challenged athletes slots) for the chance to compete in one of the most in-demand athletic events in the world. Qualifying becomes more difficult each year and the lottery provides another means to enter the race. A mainstay in the history of Ironman, the Ironman Lottery began in 1983 thanks to the vision of one of Ironman's founders, John Collins, as a way to provide athletes of all abilities the opportunity to qualify for the world's most challenging one-day endurance event.
To date it has raised millions of dollars for charity and through it’s Ironman Foundation provides charitable support to non-profit organizations in the communities where Ironman Triathlons are held. For 2012 the World Triathlon Corporation are “considering changing part of the Kona lottery process to give long term, loyal athletes a chance to race Kona.” EverymanTri  contacted recently appointed CEO Andrew Messick who told us,  “We're looking for ideas and feedback right now.

 The concept is: Serious triathlete’s who have a raced a lot, who are currently racing, and have never been to Kona should get a chance to race it once in their careers.  Details to be decided....please have people send ideas.” So there you have it....what changes (if any) should WTC make to the Ironman Lottery to give their loyal athletes a chance to race in Kona? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, and we’ll pass them on to WTC CEO Andrew Messick. * Our British bureau chief Danny Ward brought you this story. Follow on twitter @everymantri or view latest videos on YouTube. ==================== There were a few responses to this post (make your voice heard HERE) and it got me thinking about two things.  What if anything would I do to change the lottery system and is the WTC doing this just to gain exposure and more race fees with Rev3 gaining in popularity and HITS just now being introduced. The first thing I thought was changing it makes sense but it has to be points based and what did that look like.  Would you have to enter X# of Ironman events and based on how you finished is how you gained points?  That made the most sense and if you really wanted a Kona slot you would race more than one Ironman event a year, but then I thought about the toll that would take on an Age Grouper's wallet and it didn't work.  What if you just based the points on the placing at each Ironman based on course difficulty which could be based on time.  For example, a 12:10 at Ironman Florida would not be the same 12:10 at Ironman St George because of elevation, weather, etc.  There are plenty of smart people in America that could give a grade to each race and then provide an Indexed time compared to the overall average time from all the Ironman events.  This might leave a logistical nightmare for people as they may not know that they got into Kona early enough to book hotels and flight.  Maybe you race in 2011 for a 2012 Kona slot? The second thing I thought of was what if the WTC does this to only generate more race fees through convincing people to race more often.  It is very expensive now to race a 70.3 or an Ironman and by instituting a new lottery policy that involves multiple races to gain entry based on a points system the cost could go up exponentially.  Don't get me wrong, the WTC is a business and will always be looking to make more money so I don't fault them for that.  I'm just wondering how many races can one person afford and if it is healthy to race more often to secure what was once a lotto slot.  Would doing this just make it another approach to the 'person with the most money' wins?
Maybe the lotto should be left to what it is and that is a lotto.  I'm not entering the lotto today but maybe someday I will and if and when that does happen I would not want to have to race around the world to race for a chance to get to Kona but just submit my name and cross my fingers, the same way I do when the numbers for the New York City Marathon are being picked.
What Are Your Thoughts On The Kona Lottery System?
Jason Bahamundi

About the Author:

I grew up in New York and lived there for 34 years until I got divorced and moved 1600 miles to my new home in Texas.  I love New York and miss it but that does not mean that Texas hasn’t been great to me because it has.  It was here that I discovered endurance sports and specifically the sport of triathlon.  Triathlon has given me new life through all the challenges it presents.  I no longer look at life the same way and I can say that is in part due to my endeavor into this sport.

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