Saturday, February 15, 2014

Ironman responds to the market

I received this e-mail today:

I am excited to announce a new program we are piloting for our IRONMAN athletes in the United States and Canada. Today we will launch the North American Transfer Program as a new option for our athletes.
This program was designed in response to athlete feedback we've received over the years. We understand that you want to race with us, but sometimes life gets in the way, injuries happen, weddings pop up or your job takes you across the country. With the transfer program, we hope to address these issues by allowing IRONMAN athletes to transfer to another open race in North America. If you have a simple date conflict, you can move sooner or later in the calendar. If you have an injury, you can move down to a 70.3 distance or postpone to a later race. We're trying to give you every opportunity you can to get in a race with IRONMAN and keep you happy.

A slightly altered version of this program has been available to our athletes in Europe for a few seasons and we are endeavoring to bring the most applicable elements to North America. That said, we ask you to remember that this is a pilot program and there may be some bumps along the way.

We're excited to try something new to give our athletes additional options and serve you better. Additional details, including rules of the program, can be found here. Questions can be directed to I look forward to hearing your feedback about this new program and seeing you at the races.

- Andrew Messick

This is a new thing for Ironman, which for years had an embarrassing refund policy.  The result was that you had to sign up for a race a year in advance (or it filled up) but might well have life circumstances get in the way.  Very early notice entitled you to ~25% refund, but no opportunity to transfer and no way to get most of your money back. 

The long-course market is becoming competitive.  Competitors Rev3 and Challenge are getting good traction in North America and overseas and there are myriad races that are not parts of larger series.  Nice to see the industry leader finally bowing to consumer demand.


  1. I just got this too, and was about to post it when you beat me to the punch.

  2. Sure makes signing up for the next race less of a gamble, doesn't it.

  3. Sorta. I'm weighing two halfs right now. Timberman and Toughman, depending on timing. Unfortunately, only one of them is an "Ironman . . . " I guess if I sign up for Timber, and cancel, at least I don't throw away the money.