An additional 10 qualifying spots for the world championships will be up for grabs at Ironman New Zealand in Taupo on Saturday.
Ironman organisers have confirmed 50 qualifying places for this weekend's race for age group participants for Hawaii, an increase of 25 per cent from the standard 40 places.
"This is a special recognition of our status as the original international Ironman event," Ironman New Zealand national manager Janette Blyth said.
"Hawaii remains the Holy Grail of the sport and a significant number of the 1430 competitors in Saturday's race have qualification for the world championships as a goal. So to increase the number of slots by 25 per cent is significant and exciting for those looking to test themselves against the best in the world in Hawaii."
This weekend marks the 29th anniversary of the New Zealand race, which was the first international race selected by the owners of the Hawaii Ironman to test the global market for the sport back in 1985.
In the ensuring 29 years the sport has grown to the stage where there are 30 full Ironman and 60 Ironman 70.3 events around the globe, attracting more than 150,000 participants each year.
They qualify and culminate in the world championships each October in Hawaii. Ironman has already confirmed that next year's 30th anniversary race in New Zealand will be increased to 60 qualifying places in recognition of the anniversary.
Ten of these slots are set aside for a 'Loyalty Lottery' from everyone who has completed Ironman New Zealand since its inception.
Competitors are given one entry into the draw for every finish in New Zealand since 1985. There are 1430 participants from 51 nations competing in Taupo on Saturday.
- © Fairfax NZ News