The uber-wealthy are paying for an easier Ironman experience, from on-call mechanics to $30,000 bikes and stocked minifridges

The uber-wealthy are paying for an easier Ironman experience, from on-call mechanics to $30,000 bikes and stocked minifridges
Athletes during the swim portion of the Ironman challenge in Lisbon, Portugal.Octavio Passos/Getty Images
  • Rich business executives pay up to $16,200 to compete in the Ironman XC challenge.
  • Ironman organizers provide on-site bike mechanics and stock fridges with favorite snacks, per the NYT.

Rich business executives are paying large sums of money for an easier Ironman experience.

Ironman XC, short for Ironman Executive Challenge, is an exclusive track within the competitive Ironman triathlons, in which participants swim 2.4 miles, run 26.2 miles, and bike 112 miles.

While it is never cheap to participate in an Ironman — typical entry fees are between $475 and $675, per The New York Times the price of entry for the XC experiences ranges from $6,200 to $16,2000, according to Ironman's FAQ. Participants must be executives or other industry leaders in order to apply, per Ironman.

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For this high price, the XC triathletes have access to an on-site bike mechanic for emergency tune ups to their bikes — which can cost anywhere from $15,000 to $30,000, the Times reported.

The athletes can also expect stocked fridges filled with their favorite snacks and beverages in their suites, per the Times.


XC athletes often get top accommodations close to the race start, which makes the early morning take off easier.

During the 2022 Ironman World Championship race in Mont-Tremblant, Quebec, athletes and their loved ones could choose to stay in a rustic lodge near the start of the race line or a luxury hotel with spa services, a posh bar, and high-end bathroom products, the Times reported.

Families of the athletes are also given VIP treatment. Before the Tremblant race began, families and friends were escorted to an exclusive hut on the beach where they got to hang out with the athletes. Once the race started, an organizer guided them through the course to watch the athletes compete.

"I'm sure you have noticed we are spoiled kids," Jerome Le Jamtel, the chief risk officer at Natixis Americas and an XC athlete, told the Times.

The XC participants don't just splurge on the day of the race. The training process for the event — which generally takes up to 17 hours to complete according to The Triathlete — is both intense and expensive.


Le Jamtal, for instance, has dry-land simulator in his basement, which, according to the Times, retails for $1,900.

Many of the business executives told the Times they were drawn to the mental and physical challenges the race provides.

"I loved the camaraderie of these people who I hadn't really known before," Marc Harrison, the former chief executive of a healthcare company, told the Times.

The perks available for those in the XC program are reminiscent of others that the 1% splurge on to make typically unluxurious experiences a little more cushy.

Wealthy Burning Man attendees, for example, can stay in lavish RVs that cost up to $10,000, and include air conditioning, entertainment devices, and fridges stocked with soda and liquor, the Wall Street Journal reported.