The 2019 racing season is winding down, but there are still a few notable races remaining on the schedule – one of them being Ironman Cozumel, which will host the Ironman Latin American Pro Championship. As has been the norm in recent years, the race in Cozumel features a stacked field. Many athletes look to the race as a chance to nail an early qualifying spot for the 2020 Ironman World Championship. Others are drawn to the $US100,000 prize purse and additional Kona qualifying slots.
Last year Canada’s Angela Naeth finished second in Cozumel, but after a long season that included a broken wrist that required two surgeries and a win at Ironman Chattanooga, Naeth has decided to call it a season. Naeth was run down in Cozumel by Germany’s Svenja Thoes, who took the win by just 45 seconds.
Thoes will also be back competing this year, having recently placed second at 70.3 Cozumel in September and 20th at the Ironman World Championship in October.
Some of the other professional women expected to contend for the win include Australian Carrie Lester, who won Ironman Mont-Tremblant, 70.3 Gulf Coast, and placed eighth in Kona, and Denmark’s Michelle Vesterby, who won this event back in 2016. Vesterby became a mom last May and finished an impressive fifth just three months later at Ironman Copenhagen.
For the men, American Tim O’Donnell comes in as the race favourite after his second-place finish at Ironman Hawaii last month. As a Kona podium finisher, all he needs to do is finish the race to validate his starting spot next year. Others with eyes on the win include Austrian Michael Weiss, a three-time winner in Cozumel, including last year, and Americans Matt Russell and Chris Lieferman, who, along with Sweden’s Patrik Nilsson, have Ironman wins under their belt this year as well.
Rounding out the competitive field are notable names Frederik Van Lierde and Andreas Raelert. Belgium’s Van Lierde was the 2013 Ironman world champion and won this race in 2016, while Raelert is best known for having five podium finishes in Kona.
Canadians entered in the race include Moncton, N.B.’s Cedric Boily, along with Ottawa’s Robyn Hardage and Heather Low.
The race is on Nov.24 and will have 40 age group slots available for the 2020 Ironman World Championship.