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I'm getting prepared for my first IM (WI) and I am curious about how realistic is it to qualify for Kona? I am shooting for 12:00, which I know is nowhere close to qualifying in my age group (24-29). I see the qualifying times and it does not seem very realistic. Have any of you out there qualified after coming from humble beginnings like myself or are all of you gifted ex-all-american trackstars? How many years did it take for you to qualify?......I understand that I am probably getting ahead of myself thinking about Kona prior to my 1st IM but I am just curious? Thanks in advance.
You figure that 9.30 to 10 hours gets you in to Kona in general.
For a guy its all about the bike, period. Not that the run and swim dont matter but you have to be able to ride, preferably sub 5.15.
So a Kona slot requires an hour swim, 5.15 bike and a 3.15-45 marathon.
How realistic is it in the long run? and the short run?
In the long run it depends how bad you want it and how much you are willing to commit, you need to be able to ride a 21+ mph and then run 8.30 miles for a marathon, the bike part is fast, as a stand alone marathon 8.30 is really slow BUT an IM marathon and a stand alone marathon are 2 completely different beasts.
In the short run I think it is doable IF you have several things going for you, first you are a triathlete who has competed over shorter distances for a period of time. A 2-2.05 Oly racer certainly has a crack at it with the right training, a 4.30 half IM'er as well but there are no guarantee's.
I think if you came from a really strong bike or run back ground its possible as well but again no guarantee's.
I suppose like anything, you can achieve anything you set your mind to if you are really that commited to it but in general are most people going to end up going to Kona? No, it requires complete commitment, dedication, planning and hard work and most people are not willing to put forth that effort at the expense of other important things in their lives such as family, friends, kids etc.....
The time required also depends on the course (obviously) and conditions on the day. I did my first ironman in Penticton in 1999 and was 6th in 30-34 with a 9:58. I didn't take the spot to Kona and the roll down ended up being around 10:18. If you are around 12:00 in your first one, without putting in 30 hour training weeks and all sorts of crazy swim/bike/run background then a goal of low 10s (which is much easy to get to than 9:30) to get a spot is reachable.
10 hours seems to be where the "race" for slots takes place, where you have to have a fairly good idea of where you are relative to other guy's in your AG.
At 9.30 it's pretty much wrapped up, that said I think Kevin off here might have missed his slot in Austria and he went 9.08, I just cant remember. where as in LP he wrapped it up twice with slower times........
Course plays a role.....
For the most part AG's that qualify for Kona have strong athletic backgrounds like they swam competitvely in college or where on track teams like you said. And even with that requires extensive comitment and training. To go from ground zero would be a formidable accomplishment but I would'nt say impossible. I know of AG's that have quit jobs and became triathlon-bums training full time and still not qualified. Even when they had all the equipment, time, nutrition, coaching, etc. And they where pretty fast to start with.
I was, now I will tri again!
Any time is a good time.
God Bless you my friend.
I'm not sure I fully agree with Andrew on the bike importance. Yes, a fast bike is required, but to qualify you better hold on well in the run. Ideally you have both at a high level. If you survey the splits from the AG fields and look at the range of bike vs. run times, the run splits have a much wider range. In other words, everyone in that potential qualifying range has a pretty solid swim and bike split, but once the Mar. begins the times are all over the place. Generally speaking, those with solid run splits get in. There's a psych. component here as well. As you run the Mar. with a goal of qualifying, you are naturally drawn to the calf markings on your fellow IMers. As you pick off (hopefully) those in your AG, you get closer to that qualifying holy grail. If you can run well, then that process is actually kind of fun. Flip side, if you are blown out from your monster bike split and the AGers are going past you, (trust me you'll be looking at their calf markings), it can get pretty demoralizing and you may dread the pitter patter of yet another set of feet approaching from behind. Best bet overall, get experienced in the distance before projecting ahead to Kona. The other common feature of qualifiers is that they generally are pretty knowledgable about the IM and all it's wonderful little surprises. Olympic distance racing and IM are two different sports. On that I'll bet Andrew and I would agree!
Given that I am allowed to do nothing at present, the oppurtunity to lurk and post frequently is a pleasant change from last year.
There is NO comparison between an Oly or a Half and an IM..........two halves do not make a whole in this case.
I suppose I should have explained more clearly what I meant.
To be a contender for a slot you have to have a solid bike and a solid run, but regardless of how good your run is, if you cant bike you cant get a slot. There is obviously some margin for error here but if you're biking 5.30 you better be able to hold down a Solid 60 min swim and a solid sub 3.30 run, if not it is not worth worry about a slot.
In fact a guy I knew of last year at Mooo who has a running background ran a 1.13 half I think in may, at Mooo he rode 5.46, ran 3.30 even and swam 1.09. Just to give you an idea of how fast he is, he's a sub 2.35 marathoner I think. Its really difficult to explain how fast he is and yet how far he was from a spot.
Now just the opposite situation, another friend of mine has a swimming background, did not swim at all in the run up to Mooo, not once other than another race. His marathon PR was 3.15-20 in a stand alone, he ran 3.33 at MOOO but rode 5.04 and swam 52.
Now compare the 2 athletes, on paper athlete one can out run athlete 2 by over 45 minutes, what happened at Mooo was he out ran him by three minutes after biking 45 minutes slower. I wont count the swim.
IM is all about being able to hold it together off of the bike, athlete 2 lost less time relative to his marathon time than athlete one. Athlete 2 will also as long as I live probably never break 2.50 for a marathon because of his physical size, he's just 2 big.
So assuming you can bike well enough to potentially be a contender you need to be able to run strong, not fast.
8.30 miles are not fast but you have to be solid to be able to hold that pace for a marathon after a 5-5.15 bike.
I think there are plenty of ways to qualify. some people take a long time to figure it out, KP at El G's has written about this and it might have been several IM's starting at 12-13 hours down to 10 hours last fall in FL when he finally did it.
Others have qualified first time out in pretty quick times. One person here qualified in 9.30 in his first IM and I have other friends that qualified in their first IM's at WI in 9.40 ish I think.
Everyone is different, theres no rules and it is not a right to qualify. Every person that I know that has qualified has worked very hard for it, but for some it simply came a little sooner than others, neither group worked harder than the other.
I will say none of the people I know came from athletic backgrounds other than one person who was a national junior butterfly swimmer. None rode or ran or played other college or varsity sports. All took up sports as adults and started from there.
Actually I did qualify but passed on it. Just no desire to race in Hawaii...ever.
My bad, got to be the percocet, little fuzzy.
Can someone maybe give me an idea on what swim time should be a target? I did compete pro in another sport for a 10+ years so have a good level of fitness. Running fine, biking coming along nicely and I can estimate where I'll get to, but swimming is still a mystery to me!
Thought I could swim Ok, and can keep going, but never realised how slow I was.
Is there an "average" target time that anyone with no swimming background should be able to get to given reaonable effort and proper coaching. Say, the equivalent of a 40min 10K run level.
under 70 minutes but theres plenty of ways to do this so its sort of meaningless.
1.10, 4.50, 3.30-4.00
50, 5.10. 3.30-4.00
Anything in between. Although I suspect it gets a little tricky if you swim slower than 1.15......
"I know of AG's that have quit jobs and became triathlon-bums training full time and still not qualified"
I know a guy who did exactly that. The amazing thing was that his wife put up with it. My wife would show me the door if I told her I was quitting work to become a full time tri-bum.
I'm in a very similar situation- did 2 Oly's last year, and stepping up to Wildflower LC and full Vineman this year. Shooting for sub-6:00 at WF and sub-12 at Vineman. LONG way from Kona, but I was curious about my chances in the long run. This same exact question was posted on Gordo Byrn's forum, and the near unanimous response (including from Gordo and Macca, too) was that genetics plays very little part in qualifying for Kona. It's ALL about the hard work and dedication. Depending on your background, you may need more hard work than others, but the feeling seemed to be that nearly anyone with the commitment can make it to Kona. Mind you, they didn't say you can WIN Kona, but you can definitely get there.
The times required of course depend on the AG. In the 25-29 you are just ahead of the bigger groups 30-34, 35-39 and 40-44, so fewer slots typically in your group, but still awfully tough times to make. As you get into the 45-49, 50-54 etc. times start to drop off a little, HOWEVER, do not fall into the fallacious thinking that it gets easier. I rant because I hear this from people, "oh, maybe when I get to be your age (thanks guys) I'll qualify". Let me tell you the reality. There are far fewer slots #1, and #2 the guys in these groups are there by virtue of natural selction to some degree, if they've stayed with it this long chances are they have a unique talent and genetic makeup that lets them keep up the training and racing w/o injury etc. They are grizzled vets, many with lots of experience and callousness to the rigors of the event. In a word they're really tough. Not that this is what you are thinking about at your age, but I think you need to give it a shot as you get experience pretty soon into your Triathlon career because it ain't gonna get any easier as time goes by.