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Craig Alexander bows out of Ironman Australia

Viral infection forces his withdrawal.

Press release regarding Craig Alexander’s withdrawal from Sunday’s Ironman Australia:

Two-time Ironman World Champion Craig Alexander today announced that he will be unable to compete in the May 1st Ironman Australia race as previously planned.  Alexander is battling a viral infection and after much deliberation and consultation with his Doctor has decided to withdraw from the event.

“I’m deeply disappointed,” said Alexander, fondly known as Crowie.  “I’ve been fighting this infection for the past two weeks, and I’ve completely laid flat.  I remained hopeful I would come good, so I wanted to leave it until the last minute before making my decision.  When I went to the doctor on the weekend, after his assessment I realized I probably wouldn’t be racing. In my head I had made a decision, but in my heart I was hoping for a minor miracle.  It hasn’t happened and it just wouldn’t be smart health-wise to push through an Ironman at any pace. So the reality is, I’ll be stuck on the sideline on May 1st.”  He continued, “In all my years as a full time professional I have been very fortunate, having only previously had two enforced layoffs because of illness.”

The Ironman Australia race in Port Macquarie was where Alexander planned to validate his qualification for the 2011 Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii in October.  Team Alexander is currently considering a variety of “Plan B” options in regards to reworking Alexander’s 2011 race schedule around another Ironman distance event.

Alexander explained, “My team and I have largely worked my season around Ironman Australia.  With the new Ironman World Championship qualification rules, I have to complete another full Ironman in 2011 in order to race in Kona.  However, it was important to me to race well in Australia so I was preparing for this race accordingly, even though it’s earlier in the season than I would normally peak for the full distance.  All was going great until three weeks ago when I contracted this virus and was forced to stop training.  It’s extremely frustrating because my racing season was precisely planned and now I’ll have to make some major adjustments in order to stay focused on my key 2011 races.  It’s an obstacle, but these are the realities of sport and now it’s up to me to figure out how to deal with the challenge.  Fortunately, I have a very strong support team around me and we will find a way to accomplish our goals this year.”

“While I struggled with the decision to withdraw from Ironman Australia,” said Alexander, “At the end of the day the risk to my long-term health was not worth it.  As much as I hate to let anyone down – the race organizers, my sponsors, the media and especially fans of the sport and friends who I know would have been there to support me – I’m certain this is the right decision.”  He added, “As athletes, we train not only physically but also mentally to face great challenges.  We learn to roll through our struggles quickly and move on – which is exactly what I intend to do.  I just want to wish all the athletes racing this weekend the best of luck.  I’ll be cheering from the sidelines.”

Despite not feeling one hundred percent, Alexander still intends to travel to Port Macquarie during Ironman race week to honour his obligations to his sponsors and the event organizers as best as possible.  Notably, Alexander serves as an Everyday Hero for the KIDS Foundation, an organization devoted to the prevention of and recovery from severe childhood injury.  He has been involved in helping raise awareness for the foundation and has several appearances planned in conjunction with the race to promote the charity.