The 2018 Ironman World Championship from Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. Photo: Ironman

Race week leading into the Ironman World Championship is traditionally a jam-packed week of press conferences, product launches and general excitement as the world’s best endurance athletes gear up for the biggest long-distance race of the year. 2019 looks to be setting up for even more action than normal.

Brownlee tops the Ho’ala Training Swim

Exactly one week before he hits the water for his first go at the Ironman World Championship, Great Britain’s two-time Olympic gold medalist, Alistair Brownlee, tested the waters of Kailua Bay at the Ho’ala Training Swim, which follows most of the Ironman swim course. About 700 swimmers took in the chance to check out the swim and were led out of the water by the speedy Brit, who finished in 46:07, followed by age-group competitors Tim Brautigam and Gordon Benson, both in M25-29.

The first woman out of the water was Australia’s Sarah Crowley, third in Kona two years ago, who finished in 49:40. She was also followed by two age-group athletes – Katherine Renouf (F25-29) and Sonia Bracegirdle (F30-34).

Kona by the numbers

According to a release from Ironman, there will be approximately 2,500 competitors in the race on Saturday. They are:

  • From 75 countries regions and territories around the world.
  • 43 percent of the field is from Europe
  • 31 percent are from North America
  • 10 percent are from Oceania
  • 7 percent are from Latin America
  • 6 percent are from Asia
  • 2 percent are from Africa
  • 1 percent are from the Middle East.
  • The youngest athlete is 18 years old, the oldest is 86.
  • The most-represented country is the United States with 659 registered athletes.
    • Germany has 279
    • Australia 193
    • Great Britain 162
    • Canada 99
  • There are 11 returning age-group champions:
    • Great Britain’s Ruth Purbrook (F30-34)
    • Denmark’s Janette Dommer (F45-49)
    • South Africa’s Michelle Enslin (F50-54)
    • Finland’s Kaisa Jakobsen (F55-59)
    • America’s Julia Daggett (F60-64)
    • America’s Missy Lestrange (F65-69)
    • America’s Bobbe Greenberg (F70-74)
    • Germany’s Timo Schaffeld (M18-24)
    • America’s Richard Sweet (M55-59)
    • America’s Robert Plant (M75-79)
    • Japan’s Hiromu Inada (M85-89).

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