Ironman Prize Money – A Complete Guide To Prize Purse & Qualifying Points

Triathletes need to train their bodies to compete in three fierce sports – running, biking and swimming. Ever wondered why they would put themselves through so much drudgery.

Besides the glory of winning the title, the prize money earned through one single race can give their finances a substantial boost. In this post, we are discussing Ironman prize money, multiple sources of a triathlete’s income, new prize purse and slot regulations amid the pandemic and more.

Ironman Prize Money – A Complete Guide

Not long ago, in 2019, the prize money offered by the World Triathlon Series was $150,000 with an additional bonus pool of $855,000, which brought the total prize purse worth to $2.85 million. The top 35 athletes took home the bonus pool while the male and female World Championship winners won $83,500 on top of their prize money.

Apart from all these, Ironman triathlon,the toughest endurance sport, wins anywhere from $10,000 to $500,000 as prize money. This one-day event has to be completed within 17 hours and the winner gets the Ironman title tag along with the prize money. The winner of Ironman title along with the half Ironman races earn the biggest prize money out of all.

However, the prize money paid by the World Triathlon Corporation has been on the downslide since 2015 and has witnessed a 6% shrinkage up until 2019. The total prize money for Ironman 2019 was about $454000 lesser compared to 2015. Even for half races, the prize purse shrunk by 4% which may be due to the fact that the number of races were more in 2019 compared to 2015 when the prize purse was $2.4 million.

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The highest Ironman winnings go to athletes who perform exceptionally well in big money races like Kona. The athletes who win the bigger Ironman events also win the bigger prize pool. At present, the top two positions are secured by Kona winners, Anne Haug and Jan Frodeno. Apart from big races, a number of athletes have also created significant earnings through challenge races and short course events.

What Is The Prize Money For Ironman Kona?

To be eligible for the Ironman Kona prize money, participants need to race through a total of 226.3km which starts with a 3.8km swim in Kailua-Kona Bay followed by a 42.2km coastal marathon back to the starting point. The race ends with a 180km biking across the lava to Hawaii and back.

Around 90,000 athletes participated in Ironman events all over the world. What makes this excruciating competition such a lucrative sport? We’ll answer that. The huge sum of prize money. The prize money for Ironman Kona stands at a whopping $650,000.

Ironman started offering cash prizes for Kona races back in 1986 with a total fund of $100,000. Today, winners of both men and women races take home $120,000 which accounts to their share of the prize purse which in total stands at more than half a million dollars. Cash prizes are awarded down to the 10th position who takes about $10,000.

What Is The Prize Money For Ironman Kona

Ironman World Championship Prize Money

The Ironman World Championship is the climax, the final competition of several Ironman qualifying races held all across the world. The total prize money of Ironman World Championship is $650,000.

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Since the Ironman World Championship 2020 has already been postponed due to the pandemic, the company has released an official statement that they are likely to update the slots and the prize money to adapt to the current situation.

Ironman officials confirmed the prize money and World Championship slots will mirror the region pro athletes are currently in due to travel restrictions. Slots and prize money will be moved to the area where most of the Ironman-registered pro athletes are. Due to this change, both the prize purse and slots will vary depending on the field size. Which also means that in some cases, the total prize purse will not be revealed until the race weekend.

Ironman also plans to spread the prize money more broadly across the professional field in order to allow athletes who are not at the top of the standings earn a decent paycheck in these turbulent times.

How Much Do Triathletes Make?

Besides bagging hefty prize money through different races, triathletes thrive on other income sources like their salary, brand sponsorships and more..

The average salary of a triathlete amounts to approximately $80,000 per year. This number is even bigger for professional team sport athletes who earn more than the average salaries. According to USA Triathlon, the sole governing body for the sport, the average income of a triathlete was $128,000 per year. This wholesome amount isn’t earned just from the winning prize money. Most triathletes in the industry have a salaried job on the side which earns them a six-figure salary.

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Earnings from prize money depends on the kind of event. Marathon and sprints usually have a higher amount of prize money than the others. Top athletes in marathons and sprints make $100,000 yearly while the ones who land between the 10th and 25th spot earn between $10,000 to $60,000 per year depending on which races they are competing in.

Newcomers can make $20,000 yearly and such athletes usually have multiple sources of income. The top 5 to 10% of athletes earn through prize money, sponsorships and endorsement deals. Sponsorships for triathletes depends on their performance, personality and connections. Top athletes who earn six-figure salaries bag sponsorships that exceed the prize money for the races they compete in. While on the other hand, the lesser known or the less connected athletes solely rely on the prize purse.

Other income sources include coaching as a career path to train others in the beginning years as a triathlete and create a constant revenue stream working as a coach.

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