This year, Jackson Laundry has been having a breakout 2018 triathlon season on the 70.3 circuit. He began his year with a top 10 and sub-4-hour finish at 70.3 Campeche. Then he followed it up with a second at 70.3 Chattanooga. After Chattanooga, on June 3rd, Laundry won his first professional Ironman 70.3 race in Raleigh, NC. He posted a blazing 2:06:09 90K ride, followed by a 1:20 half marathon to take the win over Matt Chrabot and Alex Libin.
Despite the success, not much has changed from last year to this year for Laundry. “Really, it’s been just commitment to the plan of gradual improvement,” says Laundry. “Six years ago, I joined my coach James Loaring, and I committed to his plan and getting better.” What appears to have been the difference for Laundry this year has been the last 5K of the run. “In all three (disciplines) I’ve seen improvements, but those last 5K are big,” says Laundry.
Following his win, Laundry finished fourth in the competitive field at 70.3 Mont Tremblant and then came second at 70.3 Santa Roosa two weeks ago. At 70.3 Steelhead, Laundry will be one of the contenders going up against fellow Canadian Taylor Reid and super cyclist Andrew Starykowicz (USA). “The competition here this weekend is really strong. Starky is back to defend; Matt Hanson has a phenomenal run split. And there is also Reid who is due to have one of his special performances. This weekend is going to be fun,” says Laundry.
Last year, Starykowicz posted the fastest bike split of the day at Steelhead with a sub-two-hour clocking of 1:58 for 90K. Laundry finished in fourth, six minutes back from Starykowicz. “I’m going to be patient and race my race. Hopefully, I can get a buffer on the top runners in the field on the bike and chase Starky down on the run,” says Laundry.
The race starts in the challenging, choppy waters of Lake Michigan. Then on the bike, the athletes take on a relatively flat course with a few rolling hills through Michigan’s “fruit belt.” The final leg of the race, the half marathon, runs through Jack Nicklaus’s Harbor Shore golf course to Whirlpool Corporate park for two loops and then back to the finish line on the beaches of Lake Michigan.