The one thing about writing previews is that no one wants to give anything away. So trying to work out who are the danger men for this race is difficult as the guys who have been secretly training the house down and putting in times are not going to be talking about it. They want to fly under the radar a bit. Especially if they are fairly new at iron distance triathlons and still have to get the runs on the board.
As always we start with the obvious ones but spend more time on the Aussies due to our bias.
Craig Alexander still has to be the one to beat. After watching him race a sub 8 hour last year when he really wasn’t in 100% peak form he has to be the number one. He missed the first two main swim packs last year and had to play catch up on the bike. You can bet he won’t let that happen two years in a row. There is not a lot else you can say that hasn’t already been said.
Marino Vanhoenacker will be very dangerous with the fast bike course and will be looking for a strong hit out to prove his standing in a world class field. Between Vanhoenacker and the title will be Jordan Rapp, Eneko Llanos, Cameron Brown, Joe Gambles, David Dellow, Sylvain Sudrie, Jan Raphael, Tyler Butterfield, Jimmy Johnsen and about 10 other male pros.
The best place to look for some signs of who is serious about this race (but who isn’t) probably not what they are saying but what they are not saying. Who has been very quiet on social media lately?
Our dark horse for this race is Clayton Fettell. Not mush else to say but watch him on Sunday. Clayton has a stable mate who has also been very quiet recently. Tim Berkel is a name that hasn’t come up for Melbourne which is how he wants it. We are looking forward to seeing him have a hit out. He has placed some pressure on himself which he doesn’t need to do. The training has been done and he is a quality athlete with one of the better runs in the game. If he can relax for Sunday and do what he does best he will have a great race.
Another stable mate of Clayton and Tim is Joey Lampe. This young guy is starting out on his Ironman journey. He will be a leader in the swim and is a strong cyclist. He has been building strongly over the 70.3 distance with some great podium results lately.
Joe Gambles is another name that all the top guys are keeping a close eye on. He is better prepared than last year and is very focused on this race. We spoke with Joe last week. Check out the interview with one of the world’s leading 70.3 proponents.
Luke Bell has shown some really good form this year and is probably racing faster than he ever has. A win in his home town would be a dream. He may want this race more than anyone. We would have Bell as one of the short odd favourites.
Leon Griffin is getting closer to finding the key to Ironman racing. At Ironman Australia last year he sat down at the finish line and said ‘never again’ only to be seen running across the finish line at Cairns Ironman less than two months later a lot happier. With the speed that many would love to possess and much more long distance miles in his legs Griffin is a danger man for this Sunday. He also may have found the answer to his nutrition from the current guru of race nutrition Darryl Griffith from Shotz Sports Nutrtion. It seems that there is a long line up at the front door of Shotz as one top pro after another is lining up to seek the answers to the mysteries of ironman race nutrition.
Another who has been flying under the radar is Josh Rix. Rix had a great race here last year finishing 11th overall in 8:22. Watch for an improvement on last year. We saw Josh briefly today and he is looking very good. Lean and relaxed.
Mitch Anderson needs no introduction. He always races incredibly well with the balance between his other career and training to race against fulltime pros. His bike split is always one of the best. After a couple of slower than normal ironman runs last year he will be out to go better than his 3:14 marathon here last year. Always a crowd favourite it will be great to see him racing.
Jimmy Johnsen should be on everyone’s radar. After winning Ironman WA last year with backing up from Ironman Cozumel two weeks prior he is a danger man. Johnsen is yet another who can win this race.
Someone who is nervous about his first Ironman is Tim Reed. Reed is a very smart individual and whilst this is his first Ironman he has been preparing for this for over a year. After missing out on Ironman NZ last year when it was turned in to a 70.3 Melbourne is his chance to test himself. He is a strong rider and as well all know, one of the fastest runners over the half marathon. If he is dialed in then Reed is yet another person who has the potential to get close to or on the podium.
After a 3rd at Ironman WA last year Matty White is also a world class professional who will be there. We would love to see this gritty individual on the podium. A couple of unlucky races last year saw Matty spend a lot of time training and getting there only to have some bad luck cause him to not finish. Let’s hope Sunday is his day. He was looking very relaxed and confident today in Melbourne.
Good luck to all the young gun pros on their journey to the big time. Gregory Farrell is one who is excited about lining up against many of his long time idols. We first met Gregory in Kona last year and his enthusiasm for the sport is infectious.
Also it will be great to see Casey Munroe racing Ironman Melbourne. The former pro cyclist has made a great transition in to the sport. We met Casey last June in Cairns. After giving Pete Jacobs some riding tips during last year we are looking forward to seeing whether Pete has returned the favour with some of his swim magic.
We chatted to 40-44 age grouper Richard Sekesan. He has been racing Ironman since 2006. He was supposed to race Ironman Frankfurt last year but after completing a half marathon in Geelong with a ‘stitch’ he spent the next 9 days in hospital having his burst appendix removed. One of his takeaways from this was he has a high threshold for pain which will be perfect for Sunday’s race. Richard has been on a great journey and will be trialing some new self hypnosis techniques in Ironman Melbourne. Richard has an amazing outlook on life. We’ll catch up with him post race to see whether he was able to hypnotise himself to a spot at Kona.
Trizone’s own David Stewart will also be racing on Sunday along with one of our great partners, Shannon Stacey from Healthwise Active Travel.
|Tim Van Berkel
|Victor Del Corral