Starting next year, at least according to WTC's new boss Andrew Messick, you'll be able to get a Kona slot just by racing 12 full World Triathlon Corporation Ironman races.
Think of it as a sort of Ironman Kona loyalty punch card.
"Starting in 2012 we’re making two pretty substantial changes to that [the lottery]. The first is that for athletes who have are serious triathletes who have done twelve or more full’s in their career and are still racing, we’re going to guarantee them a chance to race Kona."
In other words, if you want to race Kona you'll be able to do so just by signing up for 12 or more IM's in your triathlon racing career. That means you won't necessary have to enter the current Kona lottery if you don't have the speed to qualify for a slot as your only Kona option.
Messick goes on to explain:
"It might take a little bit of time for us to be able to cycle them all in, but we feel that you should have an opportunity to race Kona once in your lifetime. If you’re a serious triathlete, if you’re serious about the sport, you’re dedicated, you’re loyal, and you just happen to not be fast. I believe that being a serious long term triathlete and demonstrating by doing twelve or more full’s, that you deserve it as much as people are who are super quick. So part of our lottery slots are going toward those people."
But not so fast just because you've done 12 Ironman races don't go buying your Kona plane ticket yet. There's of course a catch. The WTC plans on cycling people through the Hawaiian Ironman starting with the folks who have punched their Kona Card the most.
"We’re going to start by the people who have done the most, and start by ticking them off every year and then get through all of them. I believe the long term people who are committed to us, get the chance to come here. Because it’s a magical place and it’s special and you deserve a shot at Kona."