World Triathlon Corporation, or Ironman, recently released new Early Entry (EE) & Pricing Plans.  The first two races were 2018 Ironman Texas & 2018 Ironman Boulder.  Texas will likely sell out while Boulder will not so there are a couple of different ways to play this.
Q:  How did Early Entry work at Texas and Boulder?
A:  AWA got priority access followed one week later by TriClubs followed one week later by everybody else.  Because of the new Priority Tiered slots it was possible that AWA athletes would get all the $650 entry spots but there were TriClub athletes who also got them.  A club benefit is everyone in a club can get into a particular race unlike past years at Vineman 70.3 or Arizona 140.6 where you had to be in front of your keyboard and hope for the best.
Q:  Why does a single AWA athlete get priority over all the TriClubs?
A:  WTC prioritizes their “frequent fliers” over TriClubs.  It didn’t seem to have much of an impact for Texas and Boulder.  It could in future races.
Q:  When should I sign up for Texas?
A:  Texas is likely to sell out.  If you know you want to race signup early at $650.  Consider the $90 insurance because 20% of athletes DNS, DNF or DQ with a majority of that being DNS.  That is $740 and close to $800 with the Active Fee.
Q:  When should I sign up for Boulder?
A:  Boulder had 1072 finishers this year and is almost guaranteed to not sell out.  Train just like you would for any other race but wait to buy until the last couple weeks.  Pay the $750 and decline the insurance.  The alternative would be to signup early at $650 and pay the $90 insurance but why not keep the $740 in your bank and not have to worry if you get injured or life gets in the way.
Q:  What about the 2018 Payment Plan Option?
A:  Hard pass.  For Boulder the EE price is $650.  That price goes up to $750 if you chose the Payment Plan Option with an initial deposit of $250.  There are two more payments of $250 each.  You could have $250 or $500 at risk.  Save your money and buy the race 1-2 two weeks out from the race at $750.  This is probably the biggest no-brainer scenario.  For races that do sell out, it could be an option if you are set on a race and don’t have the money.  Consider the total cost of doing that race like accommodations, travel, bike shipment, etc. first.  Accommodations are likely an even bigger expense than your race entry depending on the venue.
Priority Tiered Pricing
IRONMAN is also moving to a Tiered Pricing model based on slot inventory rather than dates. Slots at each tier are limited and once slots are sold out, the price will increase. This new pricing model also provides value to your club. Athletes who take advantage of the early entry offer will have “first crack” at limited Priority Tier slots, effectively providing your club members with the lowest possible entry fee for their event registration. Priority Tiered slots are extremely limited.
2018 Deferral Program
Athletes who register within the first 90 days of general entries becoming available are eligible to defer their entry into the next year’s event at no cost. All requests will be honored until 45 days out from the original event date. The deferral may only be used once. Athletes who elect to defer their entries forfeit any partial refund or insurance refund. Deferrals are only available for individual entries and not for relay teams.
2018 Payment Plan Option
Athletes who register for IRONMAN events (this is not offered for IRONMAN 70.3 races) within the first 90 days of general entries becoming available may elect to pay via a three-part payment plan. Athletes will be charged the Tier 3 price in three equal installments. To elect the payment plan, an athlete needs to register under the “Payment Plan” category during the first 90 days of general entries being available and make the initial $250 payment. Athletes will then receive instructions on when they can expect the next payment link and due dates for subsequent payments. All three payments must be completed for an athlete to race – partial payments will not be refunded or honored as race entries. Athletes electing the payment plan may also utilize the deferral option listed above once all three payments have been completed.