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Lionel Sanders: I am fighting myself and my desire to destroy myself early on

Canadian star acknowledges that his “no limits” mindset can sometimes get him into trouble

“No limits,” the slogan Lionel Sanders promotes, always sounds good, until you push yourself beyond that very point. When you’re walking the last half of the run at an Ironman event and you’re as famous as Sanders is, you hear more than a few “no limits” comments.

“People make fun of me when I’m walking,” Sanders said during today’s press conference. “I am one of those people who needs to learn and have it hammered into me many times … I don’t know why I don’t learn. I need to make a ton of mistakes. I’m fighting against myself and my desire to destroy myself early on.”

While Sanders has struggled through the last part of a number of races, his full-out race style is no-doubt one of the reason he’s so popular.

Related: Will Lionel Sanders win the Ironman World Championship in St. George?

Two-time Olympic gold medalist Alistair Brownlee pointed out that he walked a lot of the marathon alongside Sanders in Kona a few years ago, and said hearing the “no limits” comments made the ordeal a bit more “entertaining.”

Despite their tough time in Kona in 2019, both Sanders and Brownlee arrive in St. George as favourites. Brownlee made his long-distance debut here five years ago, winning the Ironman 70.3 North American Professional Championship over Sanders and Sebastian Kindle. The tough course and cooler, dryer conditions will certainly favour the two. Sanders has won the 70.3 event here in St. George three times.

“I like St. George,” Sanders said.  “I enjoy the 70.3 – but energy, nutrition and pacing aren’t a huge factor (for that race). That might not be true for the Ironman. Extremely difficult course and all those things are a huge factor.”

L Last fall Sanders started working with a new coach, Mikal Iden. Whether or not that collaboration will help the Canadian temper that desire to “destroy” himself too early in the race will be the huge question of the weekend.

Sanders also feels that this course will serve athletes like himself better than Kona, where a lead group typically forms along the Queen K.

“It’s a great race for someone who can do an individual time trial,” he said. “At least 50 per cent of the race will be with your own power.”