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2012 Money List (Updated)

In other sports – such as golf – the main way of ranking athletes is by the amount of prize money they make. With all the data from the qualifying races, I’ve built one for Ironman Triathlons. It is also a convenient way of putting men and women in the same list.

Note: Since first posting this, I’ve received some feedback (notably from Meredith Kessler – many thanks!) noting that my data still contained some errors. I hope I fixed them in this updated version. I’ve also put some more work into better handling IM Cairns (100k€ and paying 10 deep). (This lead to some more changes, notably for Carrie Lester, David Dellow and Cam Brown.) Please let me know if there are any more issues!

Overall Money List

Here are the 20 athletes – both from the men and women – that have earned the most prize money in “official”, full-distance Ironman races in the Kona 2012 qualifying cycle (September 2011 to August 2012):

Rank Name Total Prize Money
1 Caroline Steffen 50.000
2 Mary Beth Ellis 40.000
Jordan Rapp 40.000
4 Meredith Kessler 37.750
5 Marino Vanhoenacker 35.000
6 David Dellow 29.500
7 Carrie Lester 28.750
8 Cameron Brown 28.500
9 Simone Braendli 26.000
10 Craig Alexander 25.000
11 Matthew Russell 23.000
12 Linsey Corbin 22.500
Clemente Alonso-McKernan 22.500
Frederik Van Lierde 22.500
15 Sofie Goos 21.250
16 Eneko Llanos 20.500
17 Victor Zyemtsev 20.000
Ezequiel Morales 20.000
19 Erika Csomor 17.500
20 Gillian Clayton 16.250

As last year, this does not include money from IM Hawaii, as this would seriously skew the data. Also, IM 70.3 races are not included. In addition, I’ve taken the liberty of classifying Cairns as a 100k$ race instead of the 100k€ race it was. I wanted to avoid dealing with foreign exchange rates. (Caroline Steffen noticed this little “mistake”.)

This list is an updated version of the one I posted in my 2012 Rating Report. Mary-Beth Ellis noticed that I was using the 2011 money scheme. (Thanks for letting me know!) It took a while to dig up the data, but the Championship races (Melbourne, Frankfurt and New York) had a larger purse (125k compared to 100k in 2011) and the races were paying less deep than they used to (e.g. Top 8 in the regional championships instead of Top 10). Also, some North American races paid significantly less in 2012 than they did in 2011 (e.g. St. George, Lake Placid and Canada, dropping from 75k total purse to 25k).

Compared to the first version of this post, I’ve added the money from the “accidental 70.3” race in New Zealand (even though shortened, the race gave out the KPR points and prize money as planned). I also had Coeur d’Alene in the wrong prize bracket (they moved from 25k in 2011 to 75k in 2012). Many thanks to Meredith Kessler for noting these factual errors. This change allowed her (and also Marino) to move up in the rankings and take the spot they earned.


Here are some observations:

  • Caroline takes the first place (winning the regional championships in Melbourne and Frankfurt) in front of Mary Beth Ellis and Jordan Rapp (also winning two races, but Texas and New York having a smaller prize purse).
  • A bit of a surprise may be Simone Braendli, but she had three top 3 results (winning Cozumel, 2nd in South Africa and 3rd in Switzerland).
  • The numbers are only slightly higher than last year. Outside of a good Kona payday, it is next to impossible to make a living on Ironman price money.

2 thoughts on “2012 Money List (Updated)”

  1. Why aren’t you including Kona prize money? Yes, it may skew the data but it’s an ‘official’ ironman and this is supposed to be a list of prize money from official ironman races.

    I like the idea. It would be interesting to see a list that includes 70.3 winnings.

    1. Snowy,
      my feeling is that if I include Kona my TOP20 earners will be the TOP10 (male and female) from Kona. But I’ll keep the idea in mind .. may do another blog post on this.
      As for the 70.3 earnings – won’t happen in the near future. For now, I’m focusing on IM-distance racing – I already have more than enough to do on that side 😉
      Thanks for reading

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