So before you get to think too much about your reasoning behind deciding to do an IM distance event - reasoning which we will get into later in this series - you need to go ahead and sign up for one. As preposterous as that may seem, it is quite true for the most popular IM distance events in the US. And yes, I am going to focus on US events because I am in love with America and don’t care too much about any other countries.
For the record, that last sentence is a joke.
On the one hand this phenomenon is a bit ridiculous. But on the other hand, it encourages you - as an athlete - to be extremely proactive.
The “phenomenon” of which I am speaking is the fact that for many of Ironman’s iron-distance events you need to sign up about a year in advance. Races like Florida, Arizona, Chattanooga, Lake Placid and Wisconsin all sell out quite quickly. Don’t be fooled by going to Ironman.com and clicking through their race list and seeing some races still show as “open” because that can ALSO include registrations available via the Foundation slot method (twice the price, tax deductible entry fee of ~$1500) and Charity Partner method (raise money with race’s chosen charity for entry into race).
This year saw an “historic” first at IM Arizona in that registration NEVER went online. That means that ALL general entry slots were filled in person AT the race site. Other races mentioned prior usually sell out within minutes online once registration opens.
That means that people are willing (and ABLE) to spend a fairly large chunk of hard-earned coinage a full year in advance, oftentimes having never done the race itself and many having never even done a triathlon to begin with (yes, that is not uncommon).
Before you get nervous and worried that you won’t be able to get into a race that all your friends have done, rest assured that there are still some great options. Louisville, Boulder, and Lake Tahoe are all fabulous options that don’t seem to sell out for various reasons.
But really, once you’ve decided that you “need” to go ahead and sign up for an IM, the next step is deciding which is the RIGHT IM for you. Of course, I am making a leap of faith and assuming that ANY IM is “right” but I have already started down this path and have no further options.