To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Ironman Triathlon, twenty running slots are being auctioned off on eBay beginning 4 a.m. tomorrow (9:00 a.m. EST), with all proceeds to go toward construction of a new YMCA building in Kona. The minimum bid for each of the slots is $10,000.
“The response to this opportunity has been tremendous,” said Lew Friedland, president of the World Triathlon Corporation, organizer of the Ironman. “The athletes weâ€™ve talked with are getting very creative in their fundraising efforts. Many of them are enlisting sponsorship support from their families, friends and businesses to raise funds for the auction and a worthy cause.”
The chance to run in the prestigious is coveted by athletes worldwide. Would-be triathletes must complete grueling qualifying events, and an allotment of 200 “common” openings selected by lottery are in such demand, people who win them are profiled in local papers as if they were visited by Ed McMahon.
At least two slots will be available in each of the six age group categories, from 18 years old to over 70. For athletes who have always dreamed of racing Ironman with a sibling, spouse or training buddy, there will also be two “pairs packages” available for bid.
The auction, announced in late February, will run from tomorrow until April 6. Funds are due by May 7, and will be tax deductible.
The charity auction on eBay is the first phase of a two-year campaign to raise $1 million for the Kona Family YMCA. Proceeds will go to the Ironman Kona Community Foundation, which will donate 100 percent of the proceeds toward construction costs for a new YMCA facility to be built on the Big Island.
The World Triathlon Corporation will pay all administration costs so that all of the monies raised will go directly to the YMCA, Friedland said.
In addition to the opportunity to participate in the Ironman Triathlon, winning bidders will also receive private registration in Kona, a course tour with an Ironman world champion, a 30-minute personal session with an Ironman professional athlete, and four VIP packages, including race-day passes and invitations to the race week functions.
Athletes must provide proof of age for their specific age group and must have completed at least a half-distance Ironman event within the past year, or must complete a half-distance event before the October 18 25th Anniversary Ironman Triathlon World Championship in order to validate their entry.