This weekend sees another huge weekend of Triathlon action with Aussies and Kiwis in action all around the globe.
Tim Berkel and Rebekah Keat will be looking to defend their titles at Challenge Copenhagen (the second most popular Challenge event after Roth) Last year’s men’s runner up, Keegan Williams from New Zealand (who recently impressed at Challenge Roth with a 3rd place finish) and 3rd place finisher Jens GrÃ¸nbÃ¦k from Denmark will be on the start line looking to spoil the Aussie party. Look out for Dane, Martin Jensen, who had to withdraw from last year’s race after two flats and the strong Brit, Stephen Bayliss, a late entry. Keat had an impressive win at the inaugural Challenge Cairns in June this year and will be very hard to beat this weekend.
On the women’s side it should be a Bledisloe match up as Joanna Lawn looks to stop Keat, though Denmark’s Karina Ottosen could upset the Anzac plan with home crowd advantage. Lawn has had an impressive string of 70.3 wins this year taking out Tauranga, Port Maquarie, Busselton, Korea and also coming third in Ironman New Zealand finishing only three minutes behind winner Sam Warriner.
Meanwhile ‘down the road’ at Wiesbaden in Germany Richie Cunningham and Kiwi Terenzo Bozzone will be looking to make an impression at the European Championships. This is a critical race for Terenzo who will be desperate to secure a Kona slot, having struggled to accumulate the required points due to an ongoing Achilles problem. Also chasing points will be Filip Ospaly (CZE) currently 54th on the qualifying list for Hawaii, Michael Raelert (GER) 45th, Marko Albert (EST) 50th, Uwe Widman (GER) 56th, Andi Bocherer (GER) 57th and Simon Billeau (FRA) 61st.
Cunningham has had a string of top finishes in 70.3 racing this year. He has podiumed at Rev3 Portland, Eagleman 70.3, was fourth at Spec Savers 70.3 in South Africa and also Rev3 Costa Rica.
Further afield in Michigan at the Steelhead 70.3 flying the Aussie flag will be Christian Kemp, Chris McDonald, Tim Reed, Josh Rix, Melissa Rollison and Christie Sym. They will be competing for $25,000 and 750 Pro Ranking points towards qualifying for the Ironman and Ironman 70.3 World Championships. Josh Rix and Matty White raced here last year. Rix edged White out for second place and ran an impressive 1:17. Rix has been battling to get his run back this year and is almost there.
Melissa Rollison and Christie Sym have both had recent wins at this distance. Rollison has been tearing up each race she has attended in the USA this season. She will be hard to beat this weekend. Sym had a tough race last weekend and collapsed after the bike in T2. Hopefully she is ready to race this weekend.
Tim Reed has been racing a lot of 5150 (Olympic distance) since being in the USA this year. It seems to agree with him. His running is very fast right now and he has been getting 2nds and 3rds regularly. Reed has struggle to manage his asthma in the swim but after his recent race at NYC seems to have got this under control. Chris Kemp will be out to show that he can mix it after some mixed performances this year. Last month he was 11th at Vineman 70.3 with a 1:11 run. He was a couple of minutes behind in the swim and a bit off with his bike time but ran very fast to pull back an 11th. Kemp finished 4th at Port Maqaurie and won the Carlsbad triathlon in July. At Kansas he had a great swim to be up with the leaders but lost a lot of time on the bike and jogged home in 1:34.
This weekend’s Ironman 70.3 races mark the final weekend for the professionals to accumulate points to determine who the remaining ten men and five women will be who will be able to start at the Marine Corps Ironman World Championship 70.3.
In Washington there is another 70.3 taking place at Lake Stevens which features Kiwi Graham O’Grady and Aussies Paul Matthews, Luke Bell and Paul Ambrose. O’Grady won Rev3 Portland in July ahead of Richie Cunningham with Chris McDonald coming home in 5th place. Paul Matthews has had some great races this season with a mix of 70.3 and 5150. In June Matthews won Kansas 70.3, was a close 2nd to Andy Potts at Vineman 70.3 in July and won Washington 5150 ahead of Tim Reed amongst other results.
Closer to home Pete Jacobs, Cam Brown, Justin Granger and Belinda Granger will be competing at Ironman 70.3 Philippines.
That is one big weekend of Triathlon!