When WTC announced the changes to the KPR for 2015, a number of questions were left open (for examples please refer to my post on the number of Pro races). In the last week, Ironman has quietly updated their 2015 Pro schedule and a few open questions have been answered:
- The announcement included that there would be a fifth Regional Championship. It is now clear that this will be the African Championship in South Africa. (Update Aug 20th: Strangely, the Ironman website has now reverted to show South Africa as just a P-2000 race, with price money TBD. New Update Sep 4th: There were a number of announcements today that South Africa would be a P-4000 race and the African Regional Championship. I would assume that the information slipped out a bit early and was quickly retracted for a while.)
- The announcement announced changes to the North American Ironman races but did not contain any statements whether there would be changes in other regions. When asked, WTC told me that regions outside of North America and Europe would be „Status Quo“. In fact, all races in Africa, Asia and Pacific keep their Pro status.
- WTC said that they would be „[s]ome changes and refocusing of money and points strategically in EMEA region“ and there was some speculation about changes for European races. However, the published race calendar does not have any changes for the European races.
I am a bit surprised by these non-changes and the way they were made public without any press release. As there are no changes outside of North America for 2015, the new schedule – with a fewer number of races in North America – puts North American athletes at a clear disadvantage. I think that we can still expect some changes in Europe for 2016, but apparently the time for making these changes for 2015 qualifying has been running out.
For now, we will have 33 Pro races in the 2015 Kona qualifying (up one race from 32 races in 2014, mainly because there are going to be five new races). Unless there are going to be more changes (such as new races or races loosing Pro status), that number will go down to 30 races for 2016.