A few days ago, I was trying to update the entry list for the “IRONMAN South American Championship, Mar Del Plata”. The race was scheduled for December 1st and – as a Regional Championship – was offering a total of six Pro slots for Kona 2020. However, I was no longer able to find mentions of a Pro race in Mar del Plata. Here’s what I was able to find out so far:
- Mar del Plata is no longer a Pro race
It is no longer mentioned in the Pro Qualifying Event Schedule. Pros who were registered for Mar del Plata have been notified, and a lot have already changed their schedule to race Cozumel (one week earlier, e.g. Matt Hanson or Andy Raelert) or Western Australia (same weekend, e.g. Gurutze Frades).
- Agegroup race is still going ahead
On the website for the race it is still billed as the “Ironman South American Championship” with an increased number of agegroup Kona slots and that “after the evaluation made by the WTC and given the great acceptance that the last edition had among the triathletes of the whole world, the IRONMAN of Argentina was positioned as one of the best distance races” worldwide. (Apparently, you can still register for the race.)
- Cozumel replaces Mar del Plata as a Pro Regional Championship
Ironman Cozumel (planned for November 24th) is now billed as the “IRONMAN Latin American Championship”. The prize money for Cozumel has been increased from US$ 80,000 to US$ 100,000, the amount originally designated for Mar del Plata. The net effect is an overall reduction of prize money from these two races of US$ 80,000.
- Kona slots reassigned to Cozumel and Western Australia
Four of the six Kona slots from Mar del Plata have been assigned to Cozumel. Cozumel now offers three male and three female Pro Kona slots (no “unassigned” or “floating slots”). This creates the weird situation that Cozumel has the same number of slots as Hawaii, but that the slots in Hawaii won’t rolldown beyond the podium.
Another two slots have been assigned to Western Australia (planned for December 1st, the same date as IM Mar del Plata), there are now two male and two female Pro slots available (again no “unassigned slots”). There are no “lost” Kona Pro slots.
I have no information on why the Pro race in Mar del Plata was canceled, but as the age group race is still going ahead, it does not seem to be organizational issues (The “additional burden” of a Pro race seems manageable.) Is it financial issues? Then that would not bode well for the future of the Mar del Plata race. Or is there an important part of the story that is still hidden for now? I will update this post as soon as more details get known.