The Sanitisation of Ironman

I suppose it follows on a bit from this old thread and the news that IMLanza are now finally doing away with the iconic mass start but what can be done about it. Ironman is dangerously close to being a sportif now and not a race. Age groupers can cross the line first and still not Kona Q, and that’s not right. We need a race still so the best of the AG’ers can go head to head for their spots. I’ve always had the opinion that with the advent of one and done and IMJ types they need to make IM have two distinct fields, a race and a “fun run”, by giving a fair mass start / age group mass start, and then 30 minutes later or so start the masses with rolling starts and no KQ rights, let them wear their silly shorts or use a pull buoy, do whatever they like but let the racers race. Then they could start to make it so KQ spots are only at certain events and maybe you must pre qualify to get a shot at a KQ race or something.


Yes. Preach brother :raised_hands:t2:

Definitely have a pre-qualifying event for a shot at Kona. You have to qualify to have a shot at even qualifying for Kona, preferably the season before and at 70.3. Keep that money truck rolling.

I’m also all for split races.
First off: Pro’s and all KQ wannabes across all age groups. There must only be circa 400 in any one race??? No harm in letting them all go as one, surely?
Let them get a lap in, or 22 minutes, whatever…

…then the IMJers can set off with their paddles and pull buoys, before getting on their eBikes and finally AlphaFlying over the line.

(I jest, but I do think that’d make a better experience for everyone)


That’s too binary though. What about the middle folks, too slow for KQ, too experienced/fast for the IMJ crowd. Having fast but not KQ fast swimmers/riders lumped in with the bucket listers would be an accident waiting to happen.

1 Like

There are 10 types of people in this world… :see_no_evil::rofl:


Self seeded rolling start for everyone after the KQers and Pros


I suspect a lot of folks would self-seed as a KQ wannabee, just in case they have a total float day and no-one else turned up and there’s a roll down and

Perhaps they’d need to qualify to be allowed to do that…somehow.

That’s what I was getting at here…

1 Like

That’s easy. Do you look like Julie Miller- yes/no.

1 Like


Well, Austria & Frankfurt did in recent years have a large ‘fast wave’ mass start of 400 or so. So that obviously caters for the experienced swift competitors (as FatPom identifies) but means that everyone else can enjoy a less frenetic start. You simply submitted your best time in the last 2 or 3 years iirc, and they allocated from that.



There was the guy on ST last year appealing for a slow boat with floats off the back to towe people round who couldn’t make it! :rofl::rofl::rofl:

1 Like

Surely a 5mm wetsuit is ample assistance!

1 Like

But seriously, I’m not sure what you are arguing for here - no holds barred version for elites and pros, fully sanitised for others?

The reason people are dying in the swim is not because they don’t know how to swim, and it’s not because they have undiagnosed time bombs in their hearts, and it’s not because they’re newbies.

IM is introducing rules for the swim safety of everyone, because everyone is affected.

Make it simple… have a sub 5hr 70.3 time in the last 18 months for the first start… eveyone else in a rolling start later. if you’re serious about a KQ and can’t bang out a sub 5hr 70.3* you’re kidding yourself.

  • They might need to revise the sub 5 bit for some of the older AGs…
1 Like

I disagree, most of the problems in the swim are because there are large numbers not taking the swim seriously and not properly prepared. Also you get the arguments from people like why should I follow X rule I’m not going to win, well let them have a fun run where they can take sweets from their kid, or have their mate jog a km with them or run across the finish line with a baby in their arms if they want. Let the racers race. It should be an elite wave, a competitive AG wave (maybe split by AG…or not) and then a masses race with those 17hr one and done’s. Think London Marathon for example.

Again this is not unique nor ubiquitous to non-elites. Elites dope, cheat and play rough too.

Hiving off fast people on the false assumption that they’re special just means the problem persists.

I hear you and maybe it would maker it a bit nicer for FOP, but I think you’re missing the fundamental problem which is policing each aspect of the event, and it would make it worse overall. I mean ‘fun run’, come on.

Not missing any point, the point is the entire race is being santised for the masses to “just finish” which is causing an issue for the race. I could set off and win outright an Ironman then not get to Kona as the guy who finished 20minutes behind me started only 19mins and 50seconds behind me. I could have raced for the line for that position.
30000 people do the London marathon each year “for fun” whilst the GFA and Championship athletes have their own individual races without the masses affecting it so they can get the time or race for the position. You must qualify for the GFA/Champ/Elite starts. If you want a proper race for KQ you need to give them a mass start and a head start over the masses. IMJ types just want to finish under 17 hours so they can have their sanitised experience, not have referees too worried about them and following the main championship event. Its not as easy as policing everyone, where are these “police” coming from?


In their wisdom, IM have decided that it will be an AG start, with everyone in the same AG starting together, so sort of mass start. This is great if you are in the first wave, however, if you are in later waves, going to have the joy of passing slow riders from all of the waves ahead. What will the aid stations be like? I will be flying through, wanting to grab a bottle and fill up on the go, and will be seriously Fcuked off if riders are stopping ahead of me

Next issue, on the swim how much gap do they leave between waves? we are going to have a situation where fast swimmers in later waves are going to swim over the top of slower swimmers. Surely this has to be more dangerous

In Nice, which was an AG start, I was in the last wave, on the run all of the aid stations were out of ice. I heard that in the past Lanzarote has not had enough ice on the run. I would argue that the faster athletes have a greater need for ice than the slower runners as they will be working harder with higher HR and if competing for a Kona place, will not have time to stop/slow to cool down

1 Like

You would have the bottles thing in a mass start with your swim :wink:

But seriously, they should start the AG waves like Kona, right? Where they modelled the times so people set off correctly…

@joex - Going to have to disagree with you on this one. I can’t see how people would swim over you and cheat through the bike and run in the rolling start scenario?

It’s exactly the same option as now - but having a sort of two races in one.

@Hammerer appears to be using the “fun run” as a simile for the normal IM finishers.

Let’s be clear, FOP KQ athletes are not the norm. MOP/BOP IMJ types are.

1 Like