Triathlon Magazine Canada - - 3,500 -








canada 2,603

lake placid 2,474

ari­zona 2,398

wisconsin 2,398

florida 2,325

france 2,312

switzer­land 2,161

louisville 2,152

Frank­furt 2,112

Coeur d’alene 2,096

aus­tria 2,038

re­gens­burg 1,650

st. Ge­orge 1,637

south africa 1,552

aus­tralia 1,377

lan­zarote 1,284

brazil 1,213

new zea­land 1,116

cozumel 1,110

U.K. 1,054

Western Aus­tralia 1,050

ja­pan 7,82

malaysia 431

china 216


Be­tween 2011 and 2017 a net of 20 races were added to what is now the cur­rent sched­ule. As in the first years of the boom, sev­eral of the ex­ist­ing or new races were elim­i­nated from the cal­en­dar.

iron­man triathlon EN­TRANTS 2017

ari­zona 3,269

frank­furt 3,116

copen­hagen 3,018

florida 3,002

aus­tria 2,918

wisconsin 2,898

barcelona 2,836

lake placid 2,759

louisville 2,750

texas 2,671

chat­tanooga 2,586

swe­den 2,530

kona 2,455

brazil 2,409

Mont-Trem­blant 2,137

france 2,070

wales 2,066

UK 2,040

south africa 1,899

santa rosa 1,834

switzer­land 1,626

lan­zarote 1,606

vichy 1,486

cozumel 1,483

Western Aus­tralia 1,461

canada 1,404

mary­land 1,344

boul­der 1,342

maas­tricht-Lim­burg 1,320

new zea­land 1,270

cairns 1,247

aus­tralia 1,131

malaysia 1,106


On the eve of the 40th an­niver­sary of the first Iron­man, the 2017 Kona Qual­i­fy­ing Rac­ing sea­son had nearly 80,000 en­trants for 39 races.

The driv­ing force be­hind new par­tic­i­pa­tion was not just from races that had been added to the cal­en­dar; pre­vi­ously ex­ist­ing races were sud­denly ex­pe­ri­enc­ing in­crease in triathlon en­tries.

The av­er­age Iron­man had slightly over 2,000 en­trants, though across the port­fo­lio of races, as shown in the chart of each race and en­trants above, par­tic­i­pants could num­ber more than 3,269 in Ari­zona to the fewest, 696, in Tai­wan.

Iron­man Canada, in Pen­tic­ton, which was dis­con­tin­ued in 2012, had be­came an ex­tremely pop­u­lar event be­tween 1997 and 2011.

In 1997, the first year I en­tered Iron­man Canada, it took a cou­ple of months for the 1,700 en­try slots to sell out. One year later, ru­mors about a near-im­me­di­ate sell-out the day after the race fin­ished led to ex­hausted ath­letes lin­ing up at the reg­is­tra­tion desk be­fore sun­rise, hours in ad­vance of sign-up, to guar­an­tee them­selves a spot in the 1998 race.

From 1998 to the mid-2000s Iron­man Canada’s en­try ca­pac­ity in­creased by be­tween 150 and 200 slots per year. Then, the race broke through the 3,000-par­tic­i­pant ceil­ing for the last four years it was staged in Pen­tic­ton, un­til the fi­nal triathlete crossed the fin­ish line in 2011.

In fact, once through the 3,000-en­trant ceil­ing, the race con­tin­ued to add reg­is­tra­tion slots, 3,100, 3,200 and even 3,300. As­tound­ing, given the race had nearly half the en­trants 15 years ear­lier.

At the same time the new, added races were also sell­ing out. Not at the 3,000-slot level; the en­trant cap de­pended on the venue, but ex­ist­ing races also de­liv­ered strong growth, help­ing Iron­man grow so fast.

Let’s use Iron­man Pen­tic­ton Canada to il­lus­trate the dy­nam­ics of growth in over­all fin­ish­ers, fin­ish­ers by Divi­sion, over­all fin­ish time and fin­ish times by divi­sion. As you’ll see, growth has its ben­e­fits, but it also changes race per­for­mance.

66 DNF

250 DNF

119 DNF


Ex­it­ing Okana­gan Lake dur­ing in 2006 OP­PO­SITE BELOW

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