With the 2013 Ironman World Championship 74 days away, the first professional spots for the men and women will be handed out this week. The somewhat controversial Kona Pro Rankings system was put into place in the fall of 2010 and requires professionals to be ranked against each other based on their finishes at 70.3 and Ironman events around the world. The top ranked 50 men and 35 women in the standings earn starts at the iconic race. A handful of athletes are considered automatic qualifiers and don’t count in the overall rankings. Athletes who have won the Ironman World Championship in the last five years, or who have won the Ironman 70.3 World Championship and Hy-Vee 5150 U.S. Championship in 2012 automatically earn spots in Kona. All athletes, including automatic qualifiers, must validate their start in Kona with a finish at a full Ironman event.
This week marks the end of the first qualifying period, and 40 men and 28 women, plus the automatic qualifiers, will be offered the opportunity to register given that they have validated. If a person has not validated or chooses not to accept his/her slot, it will roll down to the next eligible athlete. The remaining 17 spots (10 men and seven women) will be handed out at the end of August.
Craig Alexander (AUS), Pete Jacobs (AUS), Chris McCormack (AUS), Sebastian Kienle (GER), Mirinda Carfrae (AUS), and Leanda Cave (GBR) are all automatic qualifiers and have validated at an Ironman event. Last year’s Hy-Vee winners Javier Gomez (ESP) and Lisa Norden (SWE) have not validated and have not expressed interest in racing in Kona this year.