Ironman Access Membership Program…or Money Grab?

I received an email today about a new “exclusive athlete membership program” called Ironman Access.  To be blunt, this is a money grab.

Here’s the details:

In addition to other member benefits, the program will offer advance registration for Ironman events worldwide before entries open to the general public.  Membership into Ironman Access is on a first-come, first-served basis and will close once it reaches capacity. To register and for more information, please log on to

Advance race registration for Ironman Access members will open one week prior to the event’s general entry registration date.  Athletes are required to pay the general entry fee to the selected event.  Early registration for Ironman Access members for the 2011 Ironman Florida will open on Monday, Nov. 1; athletes interested in registering as an Ironman Access member for this event must join the program by 11:59 p.m. PDT on Sunday, Oct. 31, to be eligible.

Ironman Access Membership Program Benefits:

· $1000.00 USD for a one-year membership <—This is a Benefit?

· Exclusive advance registration to Ironman events <—So now, if you’re dumb enough to shell out $1000 you get to move the front of the line.

· Two VIP passes per registered event <—VIP for what, the pasta dinner? Front row of Swim Start …Good luck with that.

· Official membership ID card <—Is it cooler than the USAT sticker that you get?

· Second chance in the Ironman Lottery Program* <—Have you ever won the Powerball Lottery because you bought a 2nd ticket?

· One-year subscription to LAVA Magazine <—Just lots of pictures of Bike Porn.

· Discounts on Ironman partner products at and on-site event retail stores <—10%-20% off for a hat and T-shirt…serious?

· 2010 Ford Ironman World Championship NBC broadcast DVD <—I saw the race live on It was awesome, and I know who won.

· The above benefits are valid for one year starting from activation date <—So you want me to pay $1000 dollars every year just to make sure I can sign up before everyone else.

WTC, don’t turn this into even more of a pay to play sport than it already is.  Currently, you allow this years registered athletes to sign up for next years race first.  Then you allow all of the volunteers to register before the general public(they earned it).  Finally, folks can register onsite before the online entry is opened.  Creating a way for folks to jump to the font of the line and potentially lock out the very athletes/volunteers that make the race possible is a bad idea. 

Beach2Battleship anyone?

What do you think?  Am I way off base here, or has this just turned into a $1500 entry fee?

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