9 Kona Qualifiers in the U.S.
By Michelle Valenti
Do you think you have what it takes to compete with the best? Get your ticket to the Ford Ironman World Championship in Kona at one of these nine qualifying Ironman events on U.S. soil.
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St. George, Utah - May 5, 2012
If you excel in harsh conditions, this is your event. A notoriously hilly course over desert landscape offers little reprieve on the bike or run.
Galveston, Texas - April 1, 2012
Swim, bike and run your way through the Woodlands, a forested and lush area just north of Houston. The course is relatively flat with some rolling hills on the bike.
Coeur d'Alene, Idaho - June 24, 2012
Located in scenic northern Idaho, Lake Coeur d'Alene was called one of the five "most beautiful lakes" by National Geographic.
Lake Placid, New York - July 22, 2012
Bring your cheering squad to this spectator-friendly course. Ironman Lake Placid is one of the longest-running Ironman events in North America. General entries are sold out for 2012, but you can still register through the Ironman Foundation.
Louisville, Kentucky - August 26, 2012
A unique time-trial start on the swim leg and a relatively flat run are some of the defining features of Ironman Louiville. Be prepared to race in hot and humid conditions.
Madison, Wisconsin - September 9, 2012
Weave through downtown Madison where lively UW students boost spectator numbers. General entries are sold out for 2012 but you can still register through the Ironman Foundation.
Kailua-Kona, Hawaii - October 8, 2011
Believe it or not, you can actually qualify for the World Championship event at the World Championship event. Top age-groupers, pros and hand-cyclists will automatically be awarded spots at next year's starting line.
Panama City Beach, Fla. - November 5, 2011
If you can survive the choppy waters of an ocean swim, the flat bike and run courses, and predictable weather, make this a great event for first-timers. Online registration for 2012 opens November 6, 2011.
Tempe, Arizona - November 20, 2011
Desert temps, even in November, can be unforgiving. With little shade and lots of wind, the bike and run courses will put your mental fitness to the test. Online registration for 2012 opens on November 21, 2011.