Ironman has announced that they will extend the 2020 qualification season by an extra week to add in 3 additional races: Ironman Canada, Ironman Kazakhstan and Ironman Vichy. These races will remain 2021 qualifiers, but also become 2020 qualifiers with 60 2020 Kona slots on offer at each. We’ve not previously seen double Kona qualifiers so I thought I’d have a look at how this impacts on potential qualification times at these races.
As details are sparse I’ll have to make some assumptions. Firstly, that you won’t be able to claim a both slots. This seems likely as races that carry both Kona and 70.3 World championship slots do not allow qualification for both. Secondly, that you will have a choice and it won’t be a case of allocating 2020 slots and then 2021 slots (or vice versa). Thirdly, that the double allocation will be done by doing two standard slot allocations – one for 2020 slots and one for 2021 – rather than combining the slots. The two methods give slightly different total numbers of slots, the former would be the fairer approach.
I’m going to use results from Ironman Vichy 2019 as the basis for this short analysis. Kazakhstan is new and doesn’t have a race history to explore and while Ironman Canada is a return to an old venue it hasn’t got recent race results. Ironman Vichy offers us a recent example of race numbers for a mid-sized event. You can see my most recent analysis of Ironman Vichy here.
The table above allocates forty 2021 slots across the age groups and sixty 2020 slots before combining the two to give the total number of Kona slots available in each division. If everyone eligible for a slot claims one (whether that be 2020 or 2021 slots) then we get the qualifying times in the table below.
We’re assuming no roll down here and I think it’s very likely that Kona 2020 slots will roll down due to the closeness fo the race and the risk around Covid-19. My expectation is that the first few athletes in an AG will claim their 2021 slots and then those that follow may claim the 2020 slots. So, this may be a good choice if you feel Kona will go ahead as planned this year and you’re able to make the date.
For comparison the table below shows the automatic qualification times for 40 and 60 slot allocations along with the combined.
Assuming Vichy goes ahead as planned it will offer the fastest age group athletes a choice. Qualification for the 2021 World championship will offer more certainty and greater time to prepare, but the odds of qualifying for the 2020 World Champs and accepting the risks involved may well be better.
It is worth noting that cancellations and race transfers will have some impact on the athlete numbers attending, although the distribution of age groups shouldn’t change that much. There may also be a draw to this race for those willing to chance 2020 qualification, so the slots could be in more demand than I expect. Of course, we don’t know what the situation will be at the end of August so expectations for the race season may well be very different again.