There are just shy of 150 British professional and age-group athletes in Kona, Hawaii for this weekend’s IRONMAN World Championships. Unfortunately, Britain’s Tim Don, considered a serious challenger for the title this year, is unable to compete after being hit by a car, but there’s a strong British line up gathered on the Big Island.
The first ever Ironman event took place in Hawaii with just fifteen competitors in 1978, and this has become the home of long distance triathlon ever since. This year nearly 2500 competitors will compete for professional, age-group and paratriathlon world titles.
Great Britain is represented by nine professional athletes including 2012 champion, Leanda Cave, and three-time podium finisher, Rachel Joyce. First-timer, Lucy Charles, will also want to make her mark on the event and is likely to lead out the 3800m swim. Corinne Abraham, Nikki Bartlett, Susie Cheetham and Laura Siddall complete the British women’s professional line up.
On the men’s side triple Olympian, Don, was fancied as a leading challenger having set a new world best time at an IRONMAN branded event of 7:40:23 in Brazil earlier this year. However, he sustained serious injuries, including a fractured C2 vertebrae when he was hit by a car during a training ride yesterday (Wednesday).
David McNamee and Harry Wiltshire are Britain’s remaining contenders, with McNamee holding the fastest ever Kona finishing time by a British athlete at 8:28:05 last year.
There are defending podium finishers within the British age-group contingent, all of whom will face a 3800m ocean swim, 112mile bike ride and 26.2mile run in intense heat which has been described as ‘running inside an oven’. Elisabeth McTernan, a former Great Britain paratriathlon squad member, is also competing using a handbike and racing chair.
There are some detailed features on British age-group and professional athletes via Tri247.
How to watch:
You can watch live via live streams on www.ironman.com or www.redbull.tv/ironman. The coverage starts at 5:35pm on Saturday.
Race start times (UK time):
5:35p.m. Male Professional/Elite Race Start
5:40p.m. Female Professional/Elite Race Start
6:05p.m. Age Group Male Race Start
6:20p.m. Age Group Female Race Start
British professional athletes competing in Kona:
Corinne Abraham, Kona pro debut
Nikki Bartlett, Kona debut
Leanda Cave, 2012 Champion
Lucy Charles, Kona pro debut
Susie Cheetham, 6th in 2015
Rachel Joyce, 2nd in 2013, 3rd in 2014, 2nd in 2015
Laura Siddall, Kona debut
David McNamee, top British finisher in 2015 & 2016
Harry Wiltshire, third time in Kona