The Cost Of Ironman Races (incl. the not so obvious fees)
As I am going into longer-distance triathlons, I often hear triathletes complaining about the high entry fee of Ironman races. I wanted to check it for myself. I analyzed the cost of all races and summarized all my findings in this article.
The average cost of entering an Ironman is $777. Depending on the location, it ranges from $613 to $974. The price stated on the Ironman website is, most of the time, not the one triathletes will pay at the end of the checkout process.
Let’s check in detail which fees are mandatory, optional, and some of the additional costs you will need to plan for.
THE MANDATORY ENTRY FEES FOR AN IRONMAN
There are three types of fees that you will need to pay to compete in an Ironman:
- The entry fee is the obvious one. That’s the amount stated on the Ironman website. The price will be different depending on the tier you are in when registering. The higher the tier, the higher the price will be. I have seen up to 6 different prices for the same race.
Ironman Gurye and Taiwan have tiers that are based on specific dates. The earlier you register, the cheaper it will be. I find that approach easy to understand and really transparent.
All other races have tiers based on slot quantities. The issue I have here is that you don’t know how many slots are available for each tier and how many places are still available on the current tier. For most North American races, you don’t even see how many tiers are still left… If someone from Ironman is reading this, I am sure you can work on being more transparent with the triathletes!
- The processing fee is a cost from the third-party company that Ironman uses for the registration process. In Europe, it is clearly stated on the registration page that a 9.25% processing fee will be added. In Oceania, it is already included in the stated entry fee (thanks for the transparency!). In North America and most other regions, you don’t see any mention of it until the checkout page, literally the last step of the entire registration process.
Triathletes who are regularly doing Ironman races expect this fee, but for first-timers, that’s definitely not cool…
The fee is shown as follow on the checkout page:
- The license is a fee that most triathlons (Ironman or not) will ask the triathlete to pay to participate in the race. It can be either a one-day license or a one-year membership that can be used for multiple events. It is definitely worth checking the requirement of the race and the triathlon federation of your country. In the US, the USAT one-day fee is $15, and the annual membership is $50.
The costs you will see below are all based on the latest Tier (which is often the one you will end up paying) or the tier available as of 07/22/2021 (for North America). It includes the processing fee but excludes the license fee as it is highly individual.
COST OF IRONMAN RACES IN NORTH AMERICA:
|Ironman Coeur d’Alene||2021||N/A|
|Ironman Lake Placid||2021||N/A|
|Ironman St George||2022||$873|
I didn’t mention (and didn’t include in the average) the cost of Ironman Kona as triathletes need to be qualified for it and then pay the entry fee (around $1,120 in 2020). If you wonder how you can get a slot for Kona, read this article: 11 Ways To Qualify For Ironman Kona, Hawaii
COST OF IRONMAN RACES IN EUROPE:
|Ironman Italy Emilia Romagna||2021||N/A|
|Ironman Portugal Cascais||2021||N/A|
COST OF IRONMAN RACES IN OCEANIA:
|Ironman New Zealand||2022||NZ$1,105|
|Ironman Western Australia||2021||A$1,028|
COST OF IRONMAN RACES IN ASIA:
COST OF IRONMAN RACES IN SOUTH AMERICA:
COST OF IRONMAN RACE IN AFRICA
|Ironman African Championship||2022||ZAR 9,003|
Saving tips for entering an Ironman:
- Register early: no matter in which region you want to race, the earlier you book, the more chances you have to be in a lower tier. I have never seen a tier 1 price available, but tier 2 and 3 are already a bit more common.
- Bundled deals: Ironman is sometimes combining races and gives a discount on the entry fee. I have already seen several 70.3 and Ironman combinations. As far as I know, there is no place where you can look at all those deals on the Ironman website. However, you might get lucky when looking at a specific race.
- Yearly license: as mentioned previously, buying a yearly license might be an excellent option for you if you race often.
- Three-part payment plan: I know it is not really a saving tip, but it is worth mentioning that Ironman gives the possibility of paying in three-part the full entry fee. It can definitely help some triathletes. Read however carefully the details of the offer. You might pay the price of a higher tier for this option!
THE OPTIONAL FEES FOR AN IRONMAN
You have the possibility of having your time engraved on your finisher medal. I have seen fees between $15 and $25 depending on the races for this service.
In a (non-Ironman) race where the medal was a glass of beer, my wife and I let the organizers engrave our times on the glass, and we don’t regret it at all! 😀 We always think about this race and can’t wait to go again there and beat those times.
Pasta Party Guest Ticket:
In most races, the organizer will throw a pasta party a day or two before the race. The cost is included in the entry fee for the triathletes, but if you want to register any other persons, you will need to pay a supplement.
If you have the chance of having some family members or friends support you during the event, the least you can do is to pay for those tickets 😉 That’s not the place where you should save some money!
I have often seen the possibility of buying directly during the registration process some merchandising from the organizer or its sponsors. If you want to be sure to get a specific product, feel free to order it, but in most cases, the same will be available at the race expo during the weekend.
THE ADDITIONAL COSTS TO ENTER AN IRONMAN
It is obvious that the entry fees are not the only expenses that triathletes will incur. Just the travel and the hotel can cost more than the entry fee. However, they are so specific to each athlete that it doesn’t make much sense for me to average those.
If you are starting triathlon, I suggest you read this article “The Only Gears You Really Need For Your First Triathlon” for learning more about the gears and this one “The Real Cost Of Triathlon (Including Gears, Entry Fees,…)” for the cost aspect of it.
I would only recommend buying a road bike instead of using a mountain bike for an Ironman. Even if it is possible (and some do), I feel you will enjoy the bike portion much more with a road bike.