EVENTS 1998-2017 (SELECTED YEARS)
lake placid 2,474
Coeur d’alene 2,096
st. George 1,637
south africa 1,552
new zealand 1,116
Western Australia 1,050
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
lake placid 2,759
south africa 1,899
santa rosa 1,834
Western Australia 1,461
new zealand 1,270
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.
Exiting Okanagan Lake during in 2006 OPPOSITE BELOW