Time for the World’s Toughest Ironman Triathlon – Ironman Lanzarote in Spain’s Canary Islands – Kate Bevilaqua & Rebecca Preston Competing

Time for the World's Toughest Ironman. Ironman Lanzarote has proudly used the moniker "The World's Toughest Ironman" for years and, if the sold out field that includes an incredibly competitive cadre of professionals gets to experience the winds we've seen here earlier

Australian’s Kate Bevilaqua and Rebecca Preston are to race in one of the toughest Ironman triathlons around.  Ironman Lanzarote is on this weekend and Kate Bevilaqua is  fresh from her second placing at Busselton Half Ironman 2010 on May 1st three weeks ago.

Kate Bevilaqua

Career Highlights:

  • 4th Ironman WA 2006
  • 4th Australian National Long Course Champs 2007
  • 4th Ironman Australia 2007
  • 24th Pro Female Hawaii Ironman World Champs 07
  • 1st Pro Female Port of Tauranga Half IM 2008
  • 1st Amateur Female Australian National Olympic Distance Champs 2008
  • 2nd Pro Female IMNZ 2008
  • 3rd Honu 70.3 2008

Rebecca Preston  – TeamTBB

Career Highlights to date: Winning IM Switzerland and IM Austria two weeks apart in 2006. 5th place Hawaii Ironman 2007

Time for the World’s Toughest Ironman. Ironman Lanzarote has proudly used the moniker “The World’s Toughest Ironman” for years and, if the sold out field that includes an incredibly competitive cadre of professionals gets to experience the winds we’ve seen here earlier this week, it’s going to live up to that billing with ease.

Unless you’ve been to Lanzarote, it’s practically impossible to describe this beautiful island. The landscape is a harsh mixture of volcanic mountains, stark rolling terrain and beautiful beaches that somehow blends together to offer spectacular vistas. Mixed in to all the breathtaking scenery are the interesting little villages and occasional works of art created by island artist Cesar Manrique “the athletes in the race on Saturday will ride by the spectacular Monumento al Campesino (which is where the awards ceremony takes place on Sunday) and will ride by the beautiful Mirador del Rio, where Manrique’s work “opened new possibilities in combining architecture and landscape.”

While it’s known as a popular tourist resort thanks to the beautiful beaches and temperate climate (the daytime temperatures remain remarkably consistent year round “typically reaching the low- to mid-20s Celsius almost daily), Lanzarote has become a sports paradise for a couple of reasons: the island is an easy flight away for European athletes to travel to for training camps through the winter, the newly paved roads have attracted lots of European cyclists to the island for some winter training (a couple of extremely cold winters in Mallorca haven’t hurt that trend of late) and, possibly the biggest draw for sports enthusiasts, there’s the unique Club La Santa.

Club La Santa isn’t only responsible for putting on Ironman Lanzarote, it’s every active person’s dream spot. The club, set just outside of the tiny village of La Santa on the west coast of the island, offers a myriad of sports opportunities “everything from golf to tennis to kayaking to windsurfing to running to cycling to swimming (in a spectacular 50 m outdoor pool, no less) to aerobics to yoga to … well, I could go on for a while but I’ll stop there. Club La Santa is where, literally, thousands of athletes come every winter to enjoy some outstanding training over the winter months as an escape from the colder temperatures back home.

As spectacular and beautiful as the island is, it also offers some of the most challenging conditions you will ever find. On Saturday the athletes will start their day in the island’s main tourist spot “Puerto del Carmen. Then they’ll embark on the bike course that is what truly separates this race from all others.

Cycling here in Lanzarote is fun “if you like a challenge. Thanks to the incredible winds that never seem to stop blowing here in Lanzarote and long, steady climbs, people who easily average 30 km/ hour at home suddenly find themselves thrilled to average 20 km/ h some days.

The Ironman Lanzarote bike course begins with a beautiful section along the southern ends of the island that provides some impressive oceanfront scenery before the first of the real challenges begin as the athletes head up through the fire mountains. There’s another beautiful stretch past Club La Santa and over to the five km long beach at Famara before things get even more challenging with the climbs up Mirador de Haria and Mirador del Rio. There’s one more long climb back to the middle of the island before the athletes finally get to return to Puerto del Carmen for the marathon.

While the run course along the beach is relatively flat, there are two reasons Saturday’s race could live up to its billing as the “World’s Toughest”: 1) if the winds are as strong as they could be, many athletes are going to have a rough time just making it to T2 before the bike cut off so they can even get to run and, 2) it’s a marathon “towards the end of a 42 km (26.2 mile) run, even the slightest uphill feels like a mountain, especially if you’ve beaten your legs to a pulp earlier in the day just trying to finish the bike.

There are 1,500 athletes registered for Saturday’s race, including both defending champions who are back in search of three straight victories on this challenging course. Bella Bayliss and Bert Jammaer will have a tough time getting the three-peat, though, thanks to the impressive field assembled.

Jammaer will face former Ironman Lanzarote champions Eneko Llanos and Ain-Alar Juhanson, not to mention men who have claimed Ironman titles elsewhere “Maik Twelsiek won Ford Ironman Lake Placid last year, Philip Graves, rode away from the field to win at Ironman UK in 2009 (becoming the youngest Ironman champion ever), Gerrit Schellens is a two-time Ironman South Africa champ and Herve Faure, the 2005 Ironman France-Nice champion.

Bayliss’ most dangerous competitor could be countrywoman Catriona Morrison, who is fresh off a winter of training with three-time Kona champ Chrissie Wellington and a win earlier this month at Ironman 70.3 St. Croix. Add in the likes of Hillary Biscay, Tara Norton, Kate Bevilaqua, Kathrin Paetzold and Rebecca Preston and you have the makings of an incredible women’s race on Saturday.

We’ll bring you all the action from here in Lanzarote through text updates, pictures and live athlete tracking here on Ironman.com.

Facts and Figures

Date: 22nd May 2010

Place: Puerto del Carmen, Lanzarote

Distances: 3,8km swim, 2 loops in the ocean off the coast of Playa Grande
180km bike, 1 loop course taking athletes all around the island
42,195km marathon, 4 loops on the promenade in Puerto del Carmen

Number of participants: 1500

Number of slots for the Ford IRONMAN World Championship in Hawaii 2010: 60

Number of volunteers: Over 4000 volunteers coordinate to make this event a success.

Ironman winners

2009: Bert Jammaer (BEL) 00:50:30 05:00:18 02:56:51 08:54:03
2008: Bert Jammaer (BEL) 00:49:39 05:03:29 02:59:16 08:59:38
2007: Eneko Llanos (ESP) 00:49:18 04:53:18 03:01:33 08:49:38
2006: Ain-Alar Juhanson (EST) 00:53:05 04:56:41 03:00:14 08:54:11
2005: Ain-Alar Juhanson (EST) 00:55:26 04:57:24 02:58:24 08:55:37

2009: Bella Baylilss (GBR) 00:56:00 05:46:37 03:04:06 09:54:58
2008: Bella Comerford (GBR) 00:56:17 05:48:14 03:09:20 10:02:28
2007: Tiina Boman (FIN) 00:55:16 05:35:02 03:22:22 09:58:41
2006: Karin Thuerig (SUI) 00:59:30 05:27:30 03:18:47 09:52:43
2005: Virginia Berasategui (ESP) 00:52:10 05:51:54 03:20:54 10:09:39

Course records


Nick Croft AUS 00:42:24 1994
Paula Newby-Fraser ZIM 00:46:50 1994

Thomas Hellriegel GER 04:47:03 1995
Paula Newby-Fraser ZIM 05:26:32 1995

Gerrit Schellens BEL 02:44:29 2005
Paula Newby-Fraser ZIM 03:09:12 1995

Full course:
Thomas Hellriegel GER 08:35:40 1995
Paula Newby-Fraser ZIM 09:24:39 1995