2015 winner Matt Hanson returns to defend his title while 2014 winner Kelly Williamson leads a talented women’s field
TAMPA, Florida (11 May 2016) The 2016 IRONMAN® Regional Championship series will continue with this weekend’s 2016 Memorial Hermann IRONMAN North American Championship Texas triathlon and will feature some of the most prestigious names in the sport.
The women’s professional field is graced by Americans and past IRONMAN® and IRONMAN® 70.3® champions Alicia Kaye, Kelly Williamson and Bree Wee. Kaye earned wins at the 2015 IRONMAN 70.3 Boulder and IRONMAN 70.3 Calgary triathlons, while Williamson earned her first IRONMAN victory at the 2014 IRONMAN Texas race. Wee has two IRONMAN titles under her belt with wins at the 2012 IRONMAN Louisville and the 2014 IRONMAN Canada triathlons. Julia Gajer (DEU), runner-up at last year’s IRONMAN European Championship in Frankfurt, will also be in the mix along with Australian professional Rebekah Keat who was this year’s IRONMAN 70.3 New Orleans champion.
Headlining the men’s race is defending champion and 2014 IRONMAN Chattanooga winner, Matt Hanson. Previous IRONMAN Texas winners Eneko Llanos (2011) and Jordan Rapp (2012) will be sure to give Hanson a battle for the title. Seven-time IRONMAN Champion Chris McDonald (AUS), 2008 IRONMAN 70.3 World Champion Terenzo Bozzone, recent Ironman New Zealand number 3 Callum Millward and this year’s IRONMAN 70.3 New Orleans winner Andrew Starykowicz will round out a talented men’s field.
The North American Championship this weekend is sure to showcase the enormous talent and determination of elite athletes from around the world. “This group of professional competitors will all be vying for the title and the coveted automatic bid to this year’s IRONMAN World Championship,” said IRONMAN chief marketing officer. “We are looking forward to witnessing the competition and crowning a champion here in Texas.”
An automatic bid to the 2016 IRONMAN World Championship will be on the line, as all professional winners of each IRONMAN Regional Championship race will receive automatic qualification to the IRONMAN World Championship held in Kailua-Kona, Hawai’i on 8 October. The Memorial Hermann IRONMAN North American Championship Texas triathlon will also offer a $150,000 prize purse to male and female professionals, to be distributed among the first through tenth-place finishers.
In addition to the competitive professional field, some 3,000 age-group athletes are expected to compete at this year’s North American Championship. The race will offer 75 coveted age-group qualifying slots to the 2016 IRONMAN World Championship.
A Wanda Sports Holdings company, IRONMAN operates a global portfolio of events that includes the IRONMAN® Triathlon Series, the IRONMAN® 70.3® Triathlon Series, 5150 Triathlon Series, Iron Girl®, IRONKIDS®, six of nine International Triathlon Union World Triathlon Series races, road cycling events including the UCI Velothon Majors Series, mountain bike races, premier marathons and other multisport races.
The IRONMAN events, together with all other Wanda Sports Holdings events, provide more than 680,000 participants annually the benefit of endurance sports through the company’s vast offerings. The iconic IRONMAN® Series of events is the largest participation sports platform in the world. Since its inception in 1978, the IRONMAN® brand, athletes have proven that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE® by crossing finish lines at the world’s most challenging endurance races. Having started as a single race, IRONMAN has grown to become a global sensation, with more than 260 events across 42 countries. For more information, visitwww.ironman.com