With its exceptional views, gruelling hills and 40 spots up for grabs at Kona 2017, IRONMAN New Zealand is just a week away. Here’s all the info you need about this exciting race.
Ironman New Zealand Swim
The swim in one of the world’s largest fresh water lakes is super straightforward, with a one lap course starting at the Taupo Yacht Club. The swim kicks off with a deep water start so there’s no beach running required as you’ll start at the Yacht Club as well. After swimming parallel to the foreshore for 1.77km, you’ll then turn around at the IRONMAN buoys, and return 1.77km back toward the yacht club.
To get to T1, it’s a 400m run along the boat harbour to the steps leading into transition.
“The water is crystal clear. You can see the bottom of the lake the entire swim. You don’t see fish like in Kona and Cozumel but its fresh water and as clear as anything I have ever swam in. It is drinkable so don’t worry if you swallow,” – Paul of the Atlanta Tri Club
Ironman New Zealand Bike
The two-lap bike course features 180km of challenging terrain, and has been described as ‘undulating,’ so like any other course in New Zealand, it includes plenty of hills. Additionally, road conditions have been described as rough as well, which adds a huge level of difficulty for international athletes not accustomed to the New Zealand roads.
“The bike course is no joke. The roads are extremely rough the entire ride – think that section between about miles 50-60 in IMFL – but it’s the whole ride. All the roads in New Zealand are like that, they are not smooth,” said Paul of the Atlanta Tri Club. Also be prepared for windy conditions, particularly coming into T2. “We were warned about the winds on lap 2 and they were severe,” Paul adds. “It starts with some decent climbs and then mostly small rollers, false flats and with some normal climbing. It is pretty tough and the conditions made it much tougher on Lap 2.”
Despite the conditions, the course is known for being fast. “If you’re looking for a faster bike split, New Zealand, Arizona and Florida are the places to race. But there are some challenges to consider. In New Zealand, your cycling challenges are more likely to be weather related,” says Run tri.com
Ironman New Zealand Run
This gruelling 3-lap run course is almost all hills, but is incredibly beautiful. Look out for wind though. Last year, the wind was howling, creating a huge headwind on the return. The course has some of the world’s best views of breathtaking Kiwi scenery. Be careful, though, as after the last turnaround point, before the chute, there’s another hill! It’s a 100 metre climb, so prepare yourself to muster all the energy you have left to make it over this hill.
“They stuck with all the racers when they needed it the most through the pouring rain and when the last finisher crossed the line at midnight,” said New Zealand champion Meredith Kessler on her blog.
IRONMAN New Zealand Course Rating: 05:55
2016 Overall: 09:28
Number of Finishers: 37 of 49
Swim rating: 01:00
Bike rating: 03:03
Run rating: 03:16
Who’s tipped to win?
This year the statistics predict Belgium’s Marino Vanhoenacker, who won in 2012, to take out the win. However, with his incredible performances late in 2016, Terenzo Bozzone has a very strong change. Fellow Kiwi Cameron Brown, who won the event no less than eight times in ten years, is also in with a very strong chance, particularly on the back of his 2015 and 2016 wins. On this challenging course, the Kiwis have an advantage thanks to their experience on this course.
- Marino Vanhoenacker: 35% (2-1)
- Cameron Brown: 24% (3-1)
- Terenzo Bozzone: 24% (3-1)
- Marko Albert: 10% (9-1)
- Cyril Viennot: 7% (14-1)
American Meredith Kessler is tipped to win again, and has won the the event the last five years in a row, with her fastest time being last year in just 8:58:08. Kessler loves New Zealand and has trained in the country a number of times. She even said last year “it was a relief to dive into clear, blue Lake Taupo and begin the swim feeling a little more like my normal self. The bike and the run were also somewhat calming experiences, having done this course many times before.”
- Meredith Kessler: 51% (1-1)
- Carrie Lester: 26% (3-1)
- Yvonne Van Vlerken: 10% (9-1)
- Laura Siddall: 7% (14-1)
- Jocelyn McCauley: 5% (18-1))
Who won last year?
Cameron Brown won last year in 8:07:58. The Kiwi had won seven times previously and knows the course like the back of his hand. Only two minutes behind him last year was Great Britain’s Joe Skipper (8:09:37) and another Kiwi Callum Millward who finished in 08:10:57.
The women’s race was dominated by Kessler last year with a time of 08:56:08, with Lucy Gossage of the UK was a distant second, finishing in 9:05:08. Australia’s Carrie Lester was close behind, finishing in 9:07:19.
Who holds the records?
Kiwi Cameron Brown holds the fastest overall time from 2016, finishing in 8:07:58. Meredith Kessler also holds the fastest overall time from last year’s race of 8:56:08. Lucy Gossage had the fastest bike time, finishing the 180km in just 4:51:39, making her a key contender in this year’s race.
Lake Taupo remains fairly chilly all year round. The temperature of the lake usually hovers around 19 degrees, so choose the right wetsuit for the conditions. IRONMAN recommends wearing arm warmers for the first part of the bike as it can be chilly until the sun is high in the sky.
NZ Ultra Distance Championships
This race also functions as the official New Zealand Ultra Distance Championships, which is open to all New Zealand citizens and/or have permanent resident status.
The Brownlee Brothers Launch New Blood Test for Athletes & the Physically Active
The Brownlee brothers, a pair of well-known triathletes and Olympics stars, have partnered with Werlabs in Great Britain to create a blood test to help athletes improve their health and athletic performance. Those who take the blood test can monitor “the most relevant markers which can be affected by exercise and those that can affect performance.”
Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee both say the blood tests will also help physically active non-athletes. According to Jonathan, “For anyone about to undertake a physical challenge or those who exercise regularly, this test will show if major organs work properly and that there are no deficiencies which could affect your performance.”
So far, the blood test is available by appointment in the UK. You can schedule an appointment, and Werlabs will send someone to your home to draw the blood.
All Werlabs blood tests are venous to ensure quality, and they meet the standards of the UK’s National Health Service (NHS). The company has also received a Seal of Excellence from the European Commission. These factors are what drew the Brownlee brothers to co-create the new blood test package with the company.
Visit the Werlabs Website to schedule an appointment.
ITU Moments of 2017: Katie Zaferes Crashes Bike in Yokohama, Drops Glasses, Wins Silver
In this video, USA triathlete Katie Zaferes recalls a couple “mishaps” before her silver finish at International Triathlon Union’s (ITU) World Triathlon Yokohama 2017.
Zaferes and Britain’s Jessica Learmonth crashed during the bike leg, and both recovered quickly.
During the run, she was head-to-head with fellow USA triathlete, Kirsten Kasper, when she dropped her sunglasses. She doubled back to retrieve them to avoid a littering penalty and possible disqualification from the race, before beating Kasper to the finish line.
The two people ahead of them were Bermuda’s Flora Duffy and Britain’s Sophie Coldwell, both of whom began the run roughly 70 seconds before the others. Duffy finished first in 01:56:18. Zaferes caught up with Coldwell, knocking her out of the podium to finish behind Duffy in 01:58:09. Kasper took bronze with a 01:58:17. Coldwell settled for fourth with a 01:58:48 finish.
Matthew Sharpe Spearhead Canada/USA to historic Mixed Relay Win
Long-striding Canadian Matthew Sharpe saved his best till last to out-sprint the USA’s emerging star Morgan Pearson in a thrilling finish to today’s Triathlon Australia Mixed Relay Invitational at Runaway Bay.
Sharpe, 25 held off his training partner as the pair ran shoulder to shoulder in the closing stages of the inaugural Relay event – the latest addition to the 2020 Olympic program for Tokyo.
The two-day event started with 18 teams – 11 Australian teams and seven internationals from the USA, Canada/USA, Canada, Korea, Japan, Hong Kong and Wales – and after two heats on yesterday and a final qualifying heat this morning it came down to an A final of eight teams and in the end two teams – Canada/USA and the USA fought out the finish.
Sharpe, who will race for the Maple Leaf’s in next month’s Commonwealth Games, started the final run leg with a 20 metre lead off the bike as he set off around the Sports Super Centre track with 1.6km to run (after the 300m pool swim and eight-kilometres on the Luke Harrop Criterium bike course).
Pearson, the former US lifeguard and brilliant US College runner (with a 5km PB of 13:36.22), set off after his training mate and had caught him as the pair surged towards the finish shoot.
And when it looked like Pearson may just have enough gas left in the tank, the lanky Canadian surged again to steal the victory for the combined USA/Canadian team with Kevin McDowell (USA), Amelie Kretz (Canada) and Chelsea Burns (USA).
Certainly, an unusual combination of Canada and the USA between the two arch-rivals who rarely, if ever, come together on the sporting field – but this unique format allowed the hybrid foursome to come together under the coaching of Australian Jonno Hall – himself a former Australian champion road cyclist.
“I train with Morgan every day so I know how good he is and what he has to offer so I decided to let him in and then try to outsprint him in the end and it worked this time,” said Sharpe, who admitted the Mixed Team format was a winner.
“It was a great weekend, great racing, great format…happy to get away with the win.”
Pearson had an outstanding team with him with Tony Smoragiewicz, world ranked number four Kirsten Kasper and the talented Tamara Gorman.
Australia No 2 (Gillian Backhouse, Ashleigh Gentle, Ryan Bailie and Daniel Coleman) finished third and were in the hunt all day with Backhouse putting the team in a strong position with both Bailie and Gentle digging deep with superb legs and Coleman hanging on for third with Australia No 1 (Emma Jeffcoat, Matt Hauser, Amber Pate and Steve McKenna) flying home for fourth.
The event, with strong support by Gold Coast City Council’s $3,500 in prize money, will be a regular on the Triathlon Australia event calendar.
Ironman 70.3 Racine Changes Hands and Repositions as a Short Course Event
The city of Racine, Wisconsin has partnered with Ohio company HFP Racing to announce the Real Racing International Triathlon. The race date, set for July 15th, was originally occupied by an IRONMAN 70.3 event but recently ended their partnership with the city of Racine, Wisconsin.
“Anyone that comes to this event will be impressed…it’s a visual stunner and it will be a race you’ll want to come back to year after year,” said, Shannon Kurek, HFP Racing’s founder. “It’s a major urban setting with the feel of [the Racine] community.”
The race is set for July 15th and is open to licensed professional triathletes and amateur triathletes. There will be a $25,000 purse prize for the professional division in the Olympic distance triathlon. The event is offering a free individual race entry to all professionals with a valid license card from their home triathlon federation. Early bird pricing for registration ends in March and all registration closes in late June.
The course will start off with a swim in Lake Michigan, followed by a bike ride through downtown Racine and the surrounding communities, finishing with a run along the shoreline of Lake Michigan and through the North Bay and Windpoint communities. The bike and run courses are completely closed.
Kurek was recently interviewed for an episode of the Triathlon BizCast podcast, where he discusses the history of HFP’s relationship with events in Racine, Wisconsin, as well as more promotion on the new Real Racine International Triathlon. That podcast can be found at https://www.nrmedia.biz/triathlon-bizcast/hfp-racing-family-triathlon
Registration to compete in any of the Real Racing International Triathlon events is open and can be found at https://realracinetriathlon.com/register/
For more information about the race, rules and regulations, and FAQs can be found at the Real Racine International Triathlon website at https://realracinetriathlon.com/
Resources and things to do in the city can be found on the Real Racine website at http://www.realracine.com/
Super League Triathlon and ITU Sign Memorandum of Understanding
Super League Triathlon (SLT) and the International Triathlon Union (ITU) have announced a pivotal memorandum of understanding (MOU) unveiling a partnership that covers key areas of the sport, with the overarching shared goal of further building triathlon around the world at many levels including youth development, fan building and audience engagement, and general promotion of the sport on a global scale.
The MOU, announced yesterday in Moscow during the European Triathlon Union Conference, sets in motion a partnership that will see SLT and the ITU working together on promoting gender equality, clean sport conforming to the WADA code and ITU Anti-Doping Rules, as well as open communication as key pillars of the cooperation. ITU is also committed to provide guidance in rules development of SLT’s new formats.
Said Michael D’hulst, “We are thrilled to be able to work with the governing body of triathlon so early on in Super League Triathlon’s establishment. We look forward to ensuring safe, fair and invigorating Super League events with ITU, and in so doing raise the profile of the sport.”
SLT will recognize ITU as the governing body of the triathlon sport, coordinating with them and the national federations for all SLT events. SLT will also work with ITU to ensure equality in prize money, contracts and participation of male and female athletes.
“ITU and Super League Triathlon have common goals to safely and efficiently develop triathlon, nurture new talent and provide platforms to showcase great champions globally. By working together to reach these goals and by leveraging one another’s strengths we will efficiently herald in an exciting new era of competition. This MOU represents an important moment for our sport and athletes, but it is only the beginning of what will be a long and fruitful partnership”, said ITU President and IOC Member, Marisol Casado.
The MOU is also designed to ensure that the ITU and Super League Triathlon calendars are regularly discussed to avoid events clashing. “The close alignment of ITU and Super League Triathlon marketing initiatives coupled with the innovation of the Formats and the League will serve to extend the reach of both organisations and bring the potential for greater scope in campaigns as well as through their respective platforms”, said Super League Triathlon Chief Executive Officer, Michael D’Hulst.
Super League Triathlon is a spectator-friendly race series which gives triathlon fans an action-packed and very up-close experience. Fans can follow the best triathletes in the world from start to finish, as the series travels to some of the world’s most spectacular racing destinations throughout the eight-month race season. Super League races are focused on attracting a new generation of audiences with the aim of fostering and inspiring future champions and promoting a healthy lifestyle for the wider community.
Mixed Relay Invitational now a key in countdown to the Commonwealth Games
Four members of Australia’s Commonwealth Games triathlon team will continue to put the finishing touches to their preparations at this weekend’s innovative Triathlon Australia Mixed Relay Invitational at Runaway Bay.
The Australians – Matt Hauser, Ashleigh Gentle, Charlotte McShane and Gillian Backhouse will be among nine Games athletes from Australia, Canada and Wales who will line up in the 18 teams.
Australia will be represented by 11 teams with Canada, Wales, USA, Canada/USA, Hong Kong, Japan and Korea providing a real international flavour to an event that’s the most recent addition to the Olympic program in Tokyo.
Each individual athlete will complete a 300m swim in the Sports Super Centre 50m Olympic pool; eight kilometres on the bike on the Criterium loop before a 1.6km track run.
Hauser, Gentle, McShane and Jake Birtwhistle (who is in Launceston preparing for the Games) made up the Australian team that won the ITU World Mixed Relay Championship in Hamburg last year.
The exciting addition to the triathlon program will feature for only the second time at this year’s Commonwealth Games (on April 7) after the Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee-led English team who won the inaugural gold from South Africa and Australia in Glasgow four years ago.
Hauser will be joined on the Australia 1 team by the very-much in-form Mooloolaba World Cup winner Emma Jeffcoat and South Australian duo, 23-year-old rising star Amber Pate and another relative newcomer through 70.3, two-time SA Triathlete of the Year Steve McKenna.
Australia 2 will feature Games girls Gentle and Backhouse, Rio Olympian and Glasgow bronze medallist Ryan Bailie and Gold Coast’s Dan Coleman in a team that certainly looks the goods on paper.
Australia 3 will see Wollongong based trio, McShane, recent Abu Dhabi podium finisher Natalie Van Coevorden and latest addition to Jamie Turner’s group in Declan Wilson as well as promising Queensland Under 23 Nicholas Free.
Kirsten Kasper, the 2017 World ranked number four, who was second to Jeffcoat in Mooloolaba, will spearhead the USA team of Kevin McDowell, Chelsea Burns and Morgan Pearson.
Canadian Commonwealth Games athlete Dominika Jamnicky and Emy Legault are the stand-outs in Team Canada while fellow Games representative Matthew Sharpe will join countrywoman Amelie Kretz and US pair Tony Smoragiewicz and Tamara Gorman in the Mixed USA/Canada team.
Two Games representatives Iestyn Harrett and Olivia Mathias will lead the Welsh team that also includes Zoe Thomas and Chris Silver.
Hauser, who was an impressive runner-up to world ranked number four, South African Richard Murray at the Mooloolaba World Cup said the Mixed Relay Invitational was perfect timing leading into the Games.
“We will build this into our taper so it couldn’t be better, said Hauser,
“We’ve got a good 18 teams coming in as well so it’s fantastic preparation for all the guys really and it will be good to see how they’re all shaping up for that Mixed Relay.
“It’s an event that will be at (the Olympics) in Tokyo as well; it’s such a fantastic and exciting event and the Aussies will have a point to prove after winning the World Championships last year and I’m really looking forward to it.”
Hauser’s coach, Gold Coast National Performance Centre coach Dan Atkins admitted the whole reason he believes his young charge got onto the Commonwealth Games team was their strategic plan 16 months out.
“I said to Matt, ‘you know what I think there is an opportunity there Matt to put your hand up … you have raced a lot of relays; you have a lot of experience there and if you keep going out and putting your best foot forward then it will be hard for the selectors not to look at you,’ said Atkins, who knows the inclusion of the Triathlon Australia Mixed Relay will be a perfect pathway for Australia’s younger athletes heading towards future Olympic, Commonwealth Games and World Championships.
“That came off and now it’s a matter of putting his conditioning and race conditioning in place by having those few little hit outs over last weekend and this weekend to hopefully be selected for the Com Games in the relay again.”
The two-day event (with two heats on Saturday 10 am and 11:45 and a Repechage at 8 am the B Final at 10 am and A final at 11.30 am on Sunday) at the Runaway Bay Sports Centre is being supported by the City of Gold Coast with a podium prize purse of $3,500.00 on offer.
Each athlete will compete a full super sprint triathlon of a 300m swim, 8km cycle and 1600m run before tagging their teammate to begin the next leg.
Two females and two males will make up a single team. The women will commence the first leg before tagging onto the first male. The second female will follow before the second male brings it home.
National Performance Director for Triathlon Australia Justin Drew said the concept of a Triathlon Mixed Relay Invitational would give Australian elite athletes a chance to hone their relay skills against each other and to provide up-and-coming development athletes the chance to race against some of the world’s best triathletes, including members of the reigning World Championship team.
“This will provide the athletes with an ideal opportunity to race in what is one of the most exciting events added to the triathlon events calendar,” said Drew, who also praised the support of the City of Gold Coast.
“Our athletes will get the chance to compete in a high-level race situation and hone their skills, which will help develop them for future World Championships, Commonwealth and Olympic Games.”
Australia’s London Olympian and Triathlon Australia Development Coach Brendan Sexton has been tasked with the responsibility of pulling together the event and is excited to get the Mixed Relay to the start line.
“All competition will be conducted within the Runaway Bay Sports Super Centre including the swim in the 50m pool, the cycle on the Luke Harrop High Performance Cycling circuit and run on the athletics track, which will be an ideal venue,” said Sexton.
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