In the women’s race the smart money is on defending champion the United Kingdom’s, Liz Blatchford.
Blatchford debuted at IRONMAN Cairns last year, then went onto to finish 4th at IRONMAN Mont Tremblant and 3rd at the IRONMAN Hawaii World Championships. On the back of a first up year like that she goes into the race as a red hot favourite.
Favourite or not Blatchford will still be required to work hard to triumph in her title defence with Sweden’s Asa Lundstrom, a two-time IRONMAN winner and fifth at this year’s IRONMAN Melbourne, 2013 IRONMAN Australia champion Rebecca Hoschke and Japan’s Keiko Tanaka all keen to knock off the defending champion.
â€œI know the abilities of two of the other strong contenders in Bec Hoschke and Asa Lundstom and think I will have a decent gap out of the swim to them. However I don’t know the other girls too well so I probably can’t really predict too much more,â€ she said.
â€œIt could be a solo day for me but in racing anything can happen and you never quite know how you are going to perform.â€
Before last year’s debut Blatchford had never even run a marathon, let alone completed a full Ironman, this year she’s back having three Ironman finishes under her belt.
â€œI have expectations of myself this year that I didn’t have last year but I also have the confidence from my past races that I can draw on. To me though, all three Ironmans I have done were somewhat daunting â€” it’s a really long way no matter how may times you’ve done it, or how much training you’ve done,â€ she said.
â€œLast year I learnt a lot about pacing and nutrition and that my body is capable of things that I didn’t know it was. Nutrition is a key one though. I am a huge calorie burner and that nearly derailed me last year at this race when I ran out of everything on the bike by 140 km. So I’ll be carrying more nutrition this year.â€
Armed with the experience and knowledge that can only come from completing a number of IRONMAN races, Blatchford looks set for a big year.
Before she launches into another season she has a title to defend.
â€œI’m really excited to go back up to Cairns. The whole experience last year was so positive that it was a no brainer for me to go back to this IRONMAN,â€ she said.
Since quitting full time employment last year Rebecca Hoschke has developed stronglyÂ over the Ironman distance. Hoschke can put in a fast run so her competitors will need to make sure they have her covered if they are going to hold her off.
The Cairns Airport Adventure Festival, incorporating the Cairns Airport IRONMAN Cairns | Flight Centre Active Travel IRONMAN 70.3 Cairns, will be held from Sunday, June 1 â€“ Monday, June 9, 2014.
For event information visitÂ www.ironmancairns.com