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Can Lionel Sanders make the final at this weekend’s Arena Games Montreal?

Canadian long-distance star shares a prep workout for this weekend's Arena Games Montreal

Photo by: Kevin Mackinnon

While he might be highlighting this weekend’s Arena Games event in Montreal, it’s hard to imagine that the Canadian long-distance star has a realistic shot at winning the event. That doesn’t mean it won’t be fun to watch and see if Sanders can at least be competitive as he goes up against some speedy short-course stars at the Olympic Centre pool.

You can get a feel for how Sanders might stack up at Saturday’s event through this video posted on his YouTube channel today – a “Super League Test” training day. Sanders ran through race day, simulating the two prelim heats and then running through the three stage final.

Related: Lionel Sanders’ race tactics at the Arena Games revealed

How far will he trail after the swim?

Yes, that’s the question everyone is asking. During his simulations, Sanders did a 225 yard swim in a 25 yard pool, and finished those swims in about 2:35. The 225 yard swim is actually 205 m, but on Saturday the swim will take place in a 50 m pool. Anyone who has competed as a swimmer knows that losing a few turns makes a big difference …

It is not unreasonable to expect the fastest swimmers on Saturday to complete the swim in about 2:15 or less – that’s about where the leaders all exited the water in the final leg at the Arena Games Finals Singapore last year. If Sanders can match his time he’ll be looking at about 20 seconds to make up. (If you’re thinking that’s too much of a gap, remember that Hayden Wilde trailed the fastest swimmers by 13 seconds in that final and would eventually win the race!)

Sanders was able to push some pretty impressive numbers on the bike, hitting over 400 watts for one of his bike efforts, which will certainly allow him to overtake some of the athletes in front of him. While his 1 km runs were all in and around 3 mins during his simulation, he figures he should be able to run around 2:50 on Saturday.

“I’m not going to be at the level of some of these guys (in each of the three sports) … but put them all together on the day, and transcend yourself, I might be able to get into the final, we’ll see.” Sanders said. “Can I win the thing? I will try, but let’s not be naive here. Quite frankly, I think if you were in capacity to win it, you’re probably not going to be in capacity to win Oceanside four weeks later. What’s required to do 10 minutes ‘insane’ is very different to what’s required to do three hours and 40 minutes insane. So, it’s going to be a fun test. The bike will be the deciding factor for me. Can I bridge back up? If I can bridge back up, I know I can run well.”

“For a slow, old long-course guy who’s focussed on Ironman for the last 18 months, I think getting into the final would be a good job,” Sanders continued.