Australian brigade ready to tackle the Ironman World Champs
Australian Sarah Crowley will head into the 2018 Ironman World Championship as a real contender for a podium after just two short years as a full-time professional.
A 15th place in 2016 seemed to be a springboard that unleashed a career best year in 2017 that included two regional Ironman championship wins in a month. The first at Ironman Cairns (Asia-Pacific Championship) out splitting noted American biker Sarah Piampiano, and then running down UK’s Lucy Charles at Ironman Frankfurt (European Championship).
While her focus remains on this race for 2018, going in relaxed and under the radar could be the key to a best performance.
Joining her, fellow Queenslander based in Melbourne and long-time professional Annabel Luxford who has just a few Ironman finishes to her name will be looking to execute her best performance on the biggest stage.
Three-time World Champion Melissa Hauschildt had a stand out 2016 season with wins at Ironman Frankfurt, Ironman 70.3 European Championship, course record at Ironman WA and second at the Ironman 70.3 World Championships on the Sunshine Coast. The only blemish a DNF at Kona which ultimately led to a diagnosis of a long-term issue and Iliac Artery surgery to correct a kink in the artery of her left leg which cut off the blood supply when in the time trial position on the bike for extended periods of time. She has spent 2017 rebuilding the fitness she went into Kona with last year and if she can replicate that will be in the mix.
Carrie Lester made her win at Ironman France look relative ‘easy’ and if she can reproduce that form will be a top ten candidate.
Tim van Berkel made his debut at the Ironman World Champion in 2014 and came away with 7th, but unable to replicate that for the past two years. The new dad is looking to reverse that this year.
2016 Ironman 70.3 World Champion and sometime training partner to Berkel will be looking to put his best Ironman feet forward at Kona and show he can match it over the full distance.
Australia has long history in the men’s race and Pete Jacobs is one that has his name written in the winners list in 2012. It would be a fairy tale comeback for Jacobs who has struggled with health issues since that win.
Nick Kastelein has a had a breakthrough year firstly a second place at Ironman 70.3 Barcelona to training partner, Ironman World Champion Jan Frodeno then a win at Ironman Zurich. He credits much of this success to the partnership with Jan and his mentorship. But the progress has been steady with results in 2016 that included 3rd at Ironman Western Australia, 6th at the Ironman 70.3 World Championship and 5th at Challenge Roth.
Rising-star Josh Amberger (AUS) will make his debut in Kona after capturing the 2017 Ironman Asia-Pacific Championship in Cairns and while he will have his Kona training wheels on will no doubt have an impact on this race early on.
“I’m focused on not obsessing over the fact that it’s Kona. It will be my first time there, ever. Not just to race. So, I really have no experience there, and I want to use this to my advantage. All I’m wanting to do is prepare as best I can, and take the experience as it comes when I arrive on the Island,” said Amberger.
Triathlon’s top professional talent will convene in Kailua-Kona, Hawai`i on October 14 for the 41st edition of the IRONMAN® World Championship, the most iconic one-day endurance event in the world. Leading one of the most competitive and talented professional fields in race history.
Jan Frodeno (DEU) and Daniela Ryf (CHE) will both be looking to win their third-straight IRONMAN World Championship title.
The 2017 IRONMAN World Championship will offer a $650,000 total professional prize purse which will be distributed to male and female first through tenth place finishers.
In addition to the competitive professional field, more than 2,400 registered age-group are registered to compete in this year’s IRONMAN World Championship. The largest international athlete field in this race’s history represents 66 countries, regions and territories on six continents. Athletes ranging in age from 18 to 84 have earned their championship opportunity by having finished among the best at one of more than 40 qualifying IRONMAN events worldwide.
The United States of America is the most represented nation with 741 registered competitors, followed by Australia (234), Germany (217) and Great Britain (150).