Welcome to Kona
Race week at the Ironman World Championship is upon us and the small village of Kailua-Kona, Hawaii is buzzing as some of the fittest athletes from around the world congregate to take on what is often referred to as the world’s toughest one day endurance race.
Amongst that group is Canadian Angela Naeth, who is competing in Kona for the first time. She was one of the over 500 athletes to took part in the Ho’ala training swim yesterday, along with a few of the other Canadian pros who we’ll be watching next Saturday including Lionel Saunders and Jeff Symonds.
Symonds led the Canadian contingent in yesterday’s swim, finishing the 2.4 miles in 54:50. (First in was former Fina World Cup bronze medalist in the IM, Rafael Goncalves, who is coached by our recent back-page subject, Siri Lindley, and finished the swim in 50:15.)
Sanders came out of the water in 59:57, one second ahead of Austria’s Michael Weiss. Those two will want to get together again on Saturday as they will both likely trail the lead men out of the water and will need to work their way up to the lead pack – having some company in that task won’t hurt.
Naeth also typically trails out of the water, but is renowned for her strong cycling ability, so her 59:57 swim time bodes well for a great race on the weekend.
On Friday we caught race-favorite Daniela Ryf, who is coming off a successful defense of her Ironman 70.3 world title and hoping to move up one spot on the podium next Saturday after her runner-up finish last year. She was in the midst of a long run along the Queen K highway, looking as strong as ever.