This weekend is thoroughly exciting within the triathlon world, with over 2,300 athletes descending upon Kailua-Kona, Hawaii for the Ironman World Championship on 8 October.
The event is now in its 38th year and is undoubtedly the most iconic one-day endurance event in the world. Great Britain has 124 athletes competing this weekend.
This time round, the largest international athlete field in Ironman history will toe the line, representing 64 countries and six continents. Athletes aged between 19 and 83 have earned their championship opportunity by finishing among the best at one of more than 40 qualifying Ironman events worldwide.
Andrew Messick, Chief Executive Officer of Ironman, says: “The inspiration generated by not only our amazing professional athletes but also our age-groupers, shows why the Ironman World Championship continues to be the pinnacle event of the endurance world.
“Over 2,300 of the world’s best athletes have traveled to this prestigious island to showcase their unwavering strength, passion and commitment while proving that truly ‘ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.’”
The United States accounts for a third of registrants this year, with 804 competitors. Athletes from all 50 U.S. states are represented, with the most coming from California (153), Colorado (51) and Hawaii itself (49).
The competitive fields should provide for an exciting race with Ironman World Champions Jan Frodeno of Germany and Daniela Ryf of Switzerland returning to defend their titles. Nine professional athletes will represent Great Britain including Lucy Gossage, Tim Don, Joe Skipper, David McNamee and Leanda Cave.
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Racing alongside the talented pro field is an inspiring group of age-group athletes including courageous father-and-son team Jeff and Johnny Agar, Iran’s first female Ironman triathlete Shirin Gerami and 83-year-old Hiromu Inada from Japan who could become the oldest competitor to ever cross the Ironman World Championship finish line.
A total of 115 age-group athletes from Great Britain will be taking part, including Reece Barclay, who qualified by winning the 18-24 age category at the 2015 Ironman UK. Our oldest competitor is Linda Ashmore, who will be taking part in the F70-74 category. With too many names to mention individually here, we can be sure to expect some incredible stories from this year’s Championship race.
Here are five extra stats on this year’s Kona competitors:
– 70% (1,683 athletes) are male, while 30% (718 athletes) are female – this marks the largest ever female field at the IRONMAN World Championship.
– 43 is the average age of registrants this year.
– 100 race participants (57 males, 43 females), or four percent of the total field, are professional athletes.
Hiromu Inada (Yachiyo, Chiba, Japan) is the oldest participant at 83, while Hiraya Shun (Asahi City, Chiba, Japan) is the youngest at 19.
– Eight athletes will be celebrating their birthday on race day.
For full coverage of the race, you can watch the 2016 Ironman World Championship live here.
You can find the full start list for Kona here