Author Archive | Thorsten

Ironman New Zealand 2019 – Analyzing Results

IMNZLogoCourse Conditions

This year’s race day was typical for Taupo: A clear but cold morning, some wind picking up during the bike leg and decent conditions for fast running. The conditions did not seem to play a major role in the new course records we’ve seen.

Andrew Starykowicz had a fantastic 4:12 bike leg that blew the men’s race apart. At first glance, his time doesn’t seem that remarkable, but he improved the old record by Joe Skipper by more than seven minutes, and he was quicker by 13 minutes or more than anyone else in this year’s race. It wasn’t too long ago that bike leg in the 4:30s was lightning quick in Taupo. (Just to list the fastest bike splits from 2013 to 2017: 4:35/4:36/4:37/4:22/4:37.)

After the bike fireworks, Starky was able to run just over three hours and it looked like he’d be able to claim his third IM win. But Mike Philips ran a 2:40 marathon (new run course record) and took the lead just a few kilometers from the finish.

On the female side, Jocelyn McCauley had a good bike ride followed by a great run. She finished with a new overall course record of 8:53. Jocelyn’s 2:58 marathon was the run course record for less than an hour – then Kristin Liepold (nee Moeller) finished with a 2:55:34.

Male Race Results

Rank Name Nation Swim Bike Run Time Diff to exp. Prize Money
1 Mike Phillips NZL 00:47:57 04:32:57 02:40:04 08:05:08 -12:55 US$ 12,000
2 Andrew Starykowicz USA 00:49:48 04:12:07 03:00:16 08:07:32 -23:00 US$ 6,000
3 Braden Currie NZL 00:47:57 04:31:02 02:45:51 08:09:04 -06:50 US$ 4,000
4 Matt Burton AUS 00:52:53 04:25:23 02:49:34 08:12:35 -18:04 US$ 2,750
5 Tim Reed AUS 00:48:06 04:37:55 02:51:08 08:22:12 -02:46 US$ 2,000
6 Mark Bowstead NZL 00:48:00 04:38:02 02:54:45 08:25:43 -09:00 US$ 1,500
7 Simon Cochrane NZL 00:48:02 04:51:26 02:57:16 08:41:17 -03:30 US$ 1,000
8 Mitchell Kibby AUS 00:50:05 04:50:37 02:57:12 08:42:54 -12:17 US$ 750
9 Dylan McNeice NZL 00:46:42 04:48:04 03:07:28 08:47:27 10:51
10 Shen-Yen Hsieh TWN 00:49:49 04:53:19 03:09:43 08:59:12 n/a
11 Carl Read NZL 00:54:44 05:01:42 03:04:55 09:07:57 07:08
Terenzo Bozzone NZL 00:47:59 04:32:56 DNF
Cameron Brown NZL 00:52:46 04:47:34 DNF
Justin Wendemuth AUS 00:54:48 DNF

Female Race Results

Rank Name Nation Swim Bike Run Time Diff to exp. Prize Money
1 Jocelyn McCauley USA 00:52:28 04:57:26 02:58:06 08:53:10 -33:49 US$ 12,000
2 Teresa Adam NZL 00:49:24 05:06:59 03:04:15 09:05:32 -03:28 US$ 6,000
3 Meredith Kessler USA 00:49:22 05:09:49 03:07:48 09:12:03 -02:23 US$ 4,000
4 Laura Siddall GBR 01:01:05 05:02:41 03:10:59 09:19:37 08:50 US$ 2,750
5 Rebecca Clarke NZL 00:49:19 05:10:21 03:27:12 09:32:13 n/a US$ 2,000
6 Melanie Burke NZL 01:05:36 05:04:16 03:25:58 09:41:36 07:04 US$ 1,500
7 Kristin Liepold GER 01:05:27 05:41:05 02:55:34 09:48:47 12:17 US$ 1,000
8 Jessica Mitchell AUS 01:05:29 05:25:26 03:18:58 09:56:33 -05:44 US$ 750
9 Chloe Lane AUS 00:58:02 05:21:13 03:30:55 09:57:46 n/a
10 Carly Johann USA 01:00:38 05:22:55 03:27:58 09:58:43 -21:06
11 Nicole Luse USA 01:05:32 05:34:07 03:17:04 10:03:41 -11:38
12 Claire Davis AUS 00:53:07 05:43:41 03:30:06 10:13:52 n/a
13 Karen Toulmin NZL 01:05:51 05:57:43 03:27:17 10:36:55 n/a
14 Erin Furness NZL 01:04:00 05:56:37 03:40:11 10:47:35 15:57

Kona Qualifying

IM New Zealand had four Pro slots. With 14 male and 14 female starters, they were evenly split.

On the female side, Jocelyn McCauley and Teresa Adam would have received these slots, but Teresa declined her slot and it rolled down to Meredith Kessler. On the men’s side Mike Phillips and Andrew Starykowicz were able to punch their Kona tickets.

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Ironman South Africa 2019 (April 7th) – Entry List

Update March 14th:

  • WPRO additions: Federica De Nicola, Mareen Hufe, Ashley Paulson, and Antonina Reznikov
  • MPRO additions: Peru Alfaro, Kyle Buckingham, James Cunnama, Karl-Johan Danielsson, Alessandro Degasperi, Tim Don, Andreas Dreitz, Eneko Elosegui, Ben Hoffman, Markus Liebelt, Eneko Llanos, David McNamee, Giulio Molinari, Sebastian Norberg, Jonas Oerarbaeck, Gustavo Rodriguez Iglesias, Evert Scheltinga, and Michael Weiss
  • The following athletes are no longer on the latest start list: Daniel Brown, and Imanol Sagarzazu – I have just added a question mark to their name in the list below.

Kona Slots and Prize Money

IM South Africa has 2m+2f +2u Pro Kona slots. It has a total prize purse of 150.000 US$, paying 10 deep.

There are 36 men and 13 women on the latest list, this would mean that both unassigned slots go to the men. (The final assignment will be based on the number of Pros starting the race. ) With quite a few males already qualified or just needing to validate their AQ slots, the rolldown could go quite far.

Male Race Participants

Name Nation
Johann Ackermann GER
Bart Aernouts (AQ) BEL
Peru Alfaro ESP
Josh Amberger AUS
Victor Arroyo Bugallo ESP
Reece Barclay GBR
Daniel Brown (?) AUS
Kyle Buckingham ZAF
Vinicius Canhedo BRA
Maurice Clavel GER
James Cunnama ZAF
Karl-Johan Danielsson SWE
Gerhard De Bruin ZAF
Alessandro Degasperi ITA
Tim Don GBR
Andreas Dreitz GER
Eneko Elosegui ESP
Nils Frommhold GER
Ben Hoffman USA
Samuel Huerzeler SUI
Philippe Lamberty LUX
Markus Liebelt GER
Eneko Llanos (KQ) ESP
David McNamee (AQ) GBR
Giulio Molinari ITA
Urs Mueller SUI
Patrik Nilsson SWE
Sebastian Norberg SWE
Jonas Oerarbaeck SWE
Gustavo Rodriguez Iglesias ESP
Paul Ruttmann AUT
Imanol Sagarzazu (?) ESP
Evert Scheltinga NED
Markus Thomschke GER
Matt Trautman (KQ) ZAF
Jan van Berkel SUI
Tim Van Berkel AUS
Michael Weiss (KQ) AUT

Female Race Participants

Name Nation
Lauren Brandon USA
Lucy Charles-Barclay (AQ) GBR
Federica De Nicola ITA
Gurutze Frades Larralde ESP
Mareen Hufe (KQ) GER
Anja Ippach GER
Tessa Kortekaas NED
Angela Lindberg GER
Angela Naeth CAN
Ashley Paulson USA
Antonina Reznikov ISR
Natalie Seymour GBR
Annah Watkinson ZAF

Ironman New Zealand 2019 (March 2nd) – Seedings

IMNZLogoPrevious Winners

Year Male Winner Time Female Winner Time
2005 Cameron Brown (NZL) 08:20:15 Joanna Lawn (NZL) 09:30:14
2006 Ain-Alar Juhanson (EST) 03:31:05 Joanna Lawn (NZL) 04:10:32
2007 Cameron Brown (NZL) 08:26:33 Joanna Lawn (NZL) 09:20:02
2008 Cameron Brown (NZL) 08:24:49 Joanna Lawn (NZL) 09:16:00
2009 Cameron Brown (NZL) 08:18:05 Gina Crawford (NZL) 09:18:26
2010 Cameron Brown (NZL) 08:21:52 Joanna Lawn (NZL) 09:14:35
2011 Cameron Brown (NZL) 08:31:07 Samantha Warriner (NZL) 09:28:24
2012 Marino Vanhoenacker (BEL) 03:55:03 Meredith Kessler (USA) 04:22:46
2013 Bevan Docherty (NZL) 08:15:35 Meredith Kessler (USA) 09:17:10
2014 Marko Albert (EST) 08:17:33 Meredith Kessler (USA) 09:08:46
2015 Cameron Brown (NZL) 08:22:13 Meredith Kessler (USA) 09:05:45
2016 Cameron Brown (NZL) 08:07:58 Meredith Kessler (USA) 08:56:08
2017 Braden Currie (NZL) 08:20:58 Jocelyn McCauley (USA) 09:09:47
2018 Terenzo Bozzone (NZL) 07:59:56 Laura Siddall (GBR) 09:00:44

Last Race’s TOP 3

You can find the full results and a description of how the race unfolded from last year here.

Male Race Results

Rank Name Nation Swim Bike Run Time
1 Terenzo Bozzone NZL 00:49:10 04:22:05 02:44:16 07:59:56
2 Joe Skipper GBR 00:51:47 04:19:13 02:49:46 08:05:32
3 Cameron Brown NZL 00:51:34 04:28:57 02:41:55 08:07:09

Female Race Results

Rank Name Nation Swim Bike Run Time
1 Laura Siddall GBR 00:55:31 04:54:18 03:06:11 09:00:44
2 Teresa Adam NZL 00:49:32 05:01:13 03:09:34 09:05:35
3 Jocelyn McCauley USA 00:52:59 04:57:02 03:17:43 09:12:51

Course Records

Leg Gender Record Athlete Date
Total overall 07:59:56 Terenzo Bozzone 2018-03-03
Swim overall 00:44:26 Dylan McNeice 2015-03-07
Bike overall 04:19:13 Joe Skipper 2018-03-03
Run overall 02:41:20 Matt Hanson 2016-03-05
Total female 08:56:08 Meredith Kessler 2016-03-05
Swim female 00:46:30 Monica Byrn 2005-05-03
Bike female 04:51:39 Lucy Gossage 2016-03-05
Run female 02:59:10 Jess Draskau-Petersson 2004-03-06

Course Rating

The Course Rating for IM New Zealand is 07:59.

Race Adjustments for IM New Zealand

Year Adjustment Swim Adj. Bike Adj. Run Adj. # of Finishers Rating Swim Rating Bike Rating Run Rating
2005 31:31 -01:28 -06:29 39:28 38 31:31 -01:28 -06:29 39:28
2007 13:54 02:18 05:44 05:53 24 22:43 00:29 -00:06 22:20
2008 11:35 02:17 05:10 04:09 36 19:00 01:06 01:41 16:14
2009 10:19 00:45 06:19 03:15 38 16:50 01:00 02:52 12:58
2010 09:23 01:42 03:24 04:18 22 15:21 01:09 02:58 11:14
2011 -04:07 00:18 -01:15 -03:11 24 12:06 01:00 02:16 08:50
2013 00:00 00:45 01:05 -01:50 24 10:22 00:58 02:05 07:19
2014 05:40 01:30 01:16 02:55 31 of 41 09:47 01:02 01:59 06:46
2015 05:53 01:05 01:24 03:24 22 of 27 09:21 01:03 01:55 06:24
2016 06:05 01:26 04:25 00:15 37 of 49 09:01 01:05 02:10 05:47
2017 -04:07 -03:00 -01:21 00:13 27 of 40 07:50 00:43 01:51 05:17
2018 09:43 00:34 06:59 02:12 28 of 34 07:59 00:42 02:16 05:01

Kona slots and Prize Money

IM New Zealand has 1m+1f +2u Pro Kona slot(s). It has a total prize purse of 60.000 US$, paying 8 deep.

Male Race Participants

The strength of the field is 29% of a typical Kona field.

# Bib Name Nat Expected Rating ESwim EBike ET2 ERun Consistency Overall
1 1 Terenzo Bozzone (KQ) NZL 08:06:25 08:15:33 00:47:34 04:27:19 05:19:53 02:46:32 74% +18% -9% (18) 8
2 3 Braden Currie NZL 08:06:49 08:19:46 00:46:13 04:32:24 05:23:37 02:43:12 39% +30% -31% (7) 12
3 2 Cameron Brown NZL 08:14:04 08:30:19 00:50:40 04:36:34 05:32:14 02:41:50 65% +5% -30% (38) 48
4 8 Mike Phillips NZL 08:15:08 08:21:53 00:48:40 04:32:05 05:25:45 02:49:23 68% +13% -19% (6) 20
5 7 Matt Burton AUS 08:20:04 08:39:42 00:51:30 04:29:23 05:25:52 02:54:12 20% +31% -49% (10) 80
6 5 Tim Reed AUS 08:22:08 08:28:56 00:48:26 04:33:15 05:26:42 02:55:26 75% +10% -15% (9) 42
7 4 Andrew Starykowicz USA 08:24:04 08:34:24 00:48:03 04:20:16 05:13:19 03:10:45 30% +28% -42% (12) 59
8 6 Mark Bowstead NZL 08:26:30 08:43:54 00:48:01 04:35:49 05:28:49 02:57:41 67% +0% -33% (7) 95
9 10 Simon Cochrane NZL 08:33:22 08:48:55 00:49:20 04:42:21 05:36:42 02:56:40 71% +17% -12% (25) 109
10 9 Dylan McNeice NZL 08:35:01 08:40:46 00:45:20 04:39:38 05:29:58 03:05:03 22% +37% -40% (19) 82
11 16 Carl Read NZL 08:53:13 09:10:36 00:52:11 04:58:38 05:55:49 02:57:24 60% +4% -36% (14) 181
12 15 Mitchell Kibby AUS 08:53:59 09:15:40 00:48:11 05:00:00 05:53:11 03:00:48 n/a (1 IM Pro race) (197)
13 12 Sacha Cavelier CAN 09:54:28 10:22:27 01:00:26 05:13:44 06:19:10 03:35:18 27% +46% -27% (5) 266
14 11 Daniel Brown AUS 10:50:39 11:16:56 01:04:29 05:45:15 06:54:45 03:55:54 45% +0% -55% (4) (272)
14 Shen-Yen Hsieh TWN n/a unrated unrated unrated unrated unrated n/a (no IM Pro race) (n/a)
17 Justin Wendemuth AUS n/a unrated unrated unrated unrated unrated n/a (no IM Pro race) (n/a)

Female Race Participants

The strength of the field is 15% of a typical Kona field.

# Bib Name Nat Expected Rating ESwim EBike ET2 ERun Consistency Overall
1 21 Laura Siddall GBR 09:05:00 09:15:13 00:56:22 04:59:13 06:00:36 03:04:24 82% +16% -2% (18) 12
2 22 Teresa Adam NZL 09:07:05 09:13:19 00:49:45 05:04:41 05:59:26 03:07:39 100% +0% -0% (3) 10
3 24 Meredith Kessler USA 09:07:17 09:18:48 00:49:40 05:03:16 05:57:56 03:09:21 71% +3% -26% (31) 19
4 23 Jocelyn McCauley USA 09:10:20 09:36:55 00:53:59 05:03:54 06:02:52 03:07:28 25% +22% -53% (12) 46
5 35 Emily Loughnan AUS 09:22:42 09:40:32 00:54:14 05:15:11 06:14:25 03:08:17 100% +0% -0% (2) (53)
6 29 Melanie Burke NZL 09:29:31 09:39:08 01:05:43 05:07:48 06:18:31 03:11:00 77% +20% -3% (15) 50
7 25 Kristin Liepold GER 09:30:57 09:41:10 01:02:28 05:24:13 06:31:40 02:59:17 79% +5% -16% (25) (53)
8 26 Jessica Mitchell AUS 09:54:02 10:13:04 01:01:55 05:22:49 06:29:43 03:24:19 62% +19% -19% (8) 104
9 27 Nicole Luse USA 10:08:12 10:26:18 01:09:19 05:34:57 06:49:15 03:18:57 53% +47% -0% (4) (117)
10 33 Carly Johann USA 10:14:00 10:37:06 01:01:15 05:33:18 06:39:33 03:34:27 18% +82% -0% (2) (124)
11 32 Erin Furness NZL 10:16:14 10:43:08 01:02:42 05:36:33 06:44:15 03:31:59 45% +4% -51% (8) 127
30 Rebecca Clarke NZL n/a unrated unrated unrated unrated unrated n/a (no IM Pro race) (n/a)
31 Claire Davis AUS n/a unrated unrated unrated unrated unrated n/a (no IM Pro race) (n/a)
34 Chloe Lane AUS n/a unrated unrated unrated unrated unrated n/a (no IM Pro race) (n/a)
36 Karen Toulmin NZL n/a unrated unrated unrated unrated unrated n/a (no IM Pro race) (n/a)

Winning Odds

Male Race Participants

  • Terenzo Bozzone: 53% (1-1)
  • Braden Currie: 25% (3-1)
  • Cameron Brown: 10% (9-1)
  • Mike Phillips: 8% (12-1)
  • Andrew Starykowicz: 2% (62-1)

Female Race Participants

  • Laura Siddall: 50% (1-1)
  • Teresa Adam: 27% (3-1)
  • Meredith Kessler: 12% (8-1)
  • Jocelyn McCauley: 11% (8-1)

Ironman Texas 2019 (April 27th) – Entry List

Updates:

  • March 6th: Added Palmira Alvarez, Daniela Ryf, Jeanni Seymour, Lesley Smith, Natasha Van der Merwe (WPRO) and Balazs Csoke, Clay Emge, Pedro Gomes, Alexander Schilling, Jonathan Shearon (MPRO)
  • March 7th: Linsey Corbin has indicated that she won’t be racing Texas, also Kirsty Jahn announced a move to running. Both are probably not racing and I have crossed them out in the list. One possible addition is Jocelyn McCauley who said she put in her registration.
  • March 10th: Joe Skipper has announced that IM Texas is going to be his first race of the season.

Kona Slots and Prize Money

IM Texas has 2m+2f +2u Pro Kona slots. It has a total prize purse of 150.000 US$, paying 10 deep.

Male Race Participants

Name Nation
Blake Becker USA
Alexander Berggren SWE
Balazs Csoke HUN
Trevor Delsaut FRA
Pete Dyson GBR
Clay Emge USA
Martin Fredriksson SWE
Pedro Gomes POR
Pablo Gomez COL
Matt Hanson (KQ) USA
Allan Hovda NOR
Colin Laughery USA
Urs Mueller SUI
Sam Proctor GBR
Alexander Schilling GER
Jonathan Shearon USA

Female Race Participants

Name Nation
Palmira Alvarez MEX
Anne Basso FRA
Linsey Corbin (KQ) USA
Dimity-Lee Duke AUS
Hilary Fenton USA
Kirsty Jahn CAN
Jessica Jones USA
Sarah Karpinski USA
Nicole Luse USA
Kimberley Morrison GBR
Angela Naeth CAN
Daniela Ryf (AQ) SUI
Jeanni Seymour ZAF
Lesley Smith USA
Caroline St-Pierre CAN
Natasha Van der Merwe USA
Annah Watkinson ZAF

What to Look for in 2019 Long-distance Racing

Before the start of the 2019 long-distance racing season, here is a subjective list of trends and athletes to look for. I’m sure that there will be more athletes that are going to impact racing this year, so apologies in advance to anyone who isn’t mentioned!

Further Improvements

Last year’s post had a long list of athletes that were getting ready for their debut race on the IM distance. Some of them (e.g. Anne Haug, Sarah True) had great first seasons and huge results in Kona, some did well but maybe not quite as well as expected (e.g. Javier Gomez), some even struggled to qualify or even had to postpone their debut race and missed Kona qualifying (e.g. Emma Pallant or Laura Philipp).

SarahT Finish

The 2019 season is probably not going to see another influx of new names but rather a progression of athletes in their Ironman racing: Anne and Sarah have done well in Kona and will be looking to build on their Kona 2018 results. Emma will have to continue to work on her long-distance racing skills – it seems she still has to figure out proper race nutrition in order to do well in the last hour of racing. Laura has overcome her mid-season injuries and qualified for Kona 2019 with a new German fastest time in Barcelona.

In addition, there are athletes who made some progress in 2018 who will work hard for an even better 2019. Lucy Charles was already second in Kona twice, she’ll continue to work on closing the gap to Daniela and stay ahead of the rest of the field in Kona. Braden Currie and Joe Skipper have had great seasons and good Kona results, both are hungry to prove that last season’s results have just been an intermediate step. And Cam Wurf – while breaking bike course records whenever he raced – has also made solid progress on his run, closing the gap to the Kona podium from 21 minutes in 2017 to nine minutes in 2018.

Progress of the German Women

While the German men have been dominating in Kona for a number of years (five wins in the last five years), the German women haven’t been able to have similar successes. Last year I predicted two German women in the Kona Top 10, and with Anne Haug in third and Mareen Hufe in 13th that goal was almost reached.

Mareen Bike

Anne and Mareen continue to race this season (Anne just needs to validate her Kona slot with an IM finish and Mareen secured her Kona slot with a win in Malaysia), and there’s another increase in strong German women looking towards a good Kona result. Daniela Sämmler posted a German record in Roth 2018, then already qualified for Kona with a win at IM Italy in September.   (She’ll be racing as Daniela Bleymehl now after getting married shortly before Christmas.) Laura Philipp broke Daniela’s German record by winning IM Barcelona, and Svenja Thoes also won her IM debut in Cozumel. Anja Beranek (now racing again under her maiden name Anja Ippach) was fourth in Kona 2016, but she struggled in 2017 and 2018. After recovering from Mononucleosis, she is now being coached by Siri Lindley and is back to solid training for the 2019 season. Three recent moms are returning to IM racing, but Julia Gajer, Astrid Stienen and Kristin Liepold (née Möller) will need some more time to get in top shape. Nonetheless, things are looking quite for female IM-distance racing in Germany.

Coming Back From Injury

Last season saw two great “return from life-threatening injury” stories with Matt Russell and Tim Don, and it would be great to see these two celebrate even more great results in 2019.

Jan Kraichgau

This year we’re unlikely to see quite that dramatic stories, but there are a number of athletes that haven’t been able to show their full potential because they were struggling with injuries for parts of the 2018 season. Jan Frodeno had a fantastic season until September when he won every race he started, including IM Germany and 70.3 Worlds but then suffered from a hip stress fracture and wasn’t even able to start in Kona. He mentioned that another big win in Kona could have been his last race, so his 2019 is probably focused one more big bang in October. Terenzo Bozzone is another athlete who wasn’t able to race Kona after he was hit by a car and had to take some more time to properly recover from the injuries he sustained. By winning IM Western Australia he already punched his Kona ticket and indicated that his accident was hopefully just a short break of improving his Ironman racing skills. Ben Hoffman never really got his 2018 season properly going, a crash at Cape Epic kept him from racing well in South Africa, and before Kona he suffered from a stress fracture. Hopefully 2019 will see him return to the solid races he has had in the previous years, both in his qualifying races and in Kona. Boris Stein has finished in Kona Top 10 three times in a row between 2015 and 2017, but his season was disrupted just a few days before his target race IM France when he hit a cat in one of his last bike rides. He snagged a last-minute qualifying spot at IM Copenhagen, but didn’t feel good enough in his final Kona build and canceled his start. The final male athlete I want to highlight is Sebastian Kienle – after winning Challenge Roth which was the fastest 2018 time outside of Texas, an achilles niggle flared up in his Kona build, leading to a sub-standard bike and a DNF early on the run. He’s changed up a few things and I expect him to come back shooting for another Kona win this year.

There were also some athletes on the female side who didn’t have a consistent 2018 season as well. Mel Hauschildt recovered from her surgery to win IM Texas (her third Regional Championship on three different continents!) but then needed another surgery on her other leg and couldn’t race Kona. Annabel Luxford managed to qualify for Kona but also didn’t race – she seemed to struggle with chest infections and that had a major impact on her  Kona prep.

All of these stories are examples of the fine edge between “being fit and being f*cked” (as Sebi put it before Kona) and how one little thing – often without any “fault” of the athlete – can disrupt a whole season. Hopefully struggles in 2018 are going to be offset by a better 2019 season!

Who dominates in North America – USA or Canada?

The US has been dominating the early years of Ironman racing, but the most recent North American winners are from Canada: Lori Bowden and Peter Reid in 2003. That’s a long time ago, and it’s an interesting question where the next North American winners will be coming from.

CANvsUSA

On the men’s side, there have been podium results by US athletes Tim O’Donnell (third in 2015) and Ben Hoffman (second in 2014), but the closest to a Kona win was been Lionel Sanders who finished second in 2017. In 2018, the top North American finisher was again Tim O’Donnell but there is a strong contingent of Canadians we can expect to race well in Kona: Lionel will work hard to bounce back from his disappointing 2018 race, and Cody Beals has won both IMs he’s been racing so far. Brent McMahon is racing well in his qualifying Ironman races but hasn’t been quite figured out how to transfer that to Kona.

There is a similar rivalry on the female side: Heather Jackson has been the top North American finisher in Kona except this year, but with Sarah True another US woman finished fourth behind three Europeans. Linsey Corbin finished tenth, followed by Sarah Piampiano in eleventh place. Other strong American women include Meredith Kessler (still working on “getting Kona right”), Lesley Smith, Lisa Roberts, Jocelyn McCauley, Jodie Robertson and Lauren Brandon – all of these have the potential for an Ironman win during the season and a good Kona result. But Canada also had a Kona Top 10 finish this year (Angela Naeth in eighth place), and with Jen Annett, Kirsty Jahn, and Rachel McBride there are a few more promising athletes.

It looks to me that the US still has a few more athletes with Kona Top 10 potential, but things are pretty even when looking for the next North American Kona winner.

Photo Credits: All Photos © by Ingo Kutsche, used with permission.

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