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Sanders won’t head to Ironman 70.3 World Championship this year

Long stretch of full-distance racing means Canadian isn't ready for a half-distance race

Photo by: Kevin Mackinnon

Canada’s Lionel Sanders says he won’t be racing at the upcoming Ironman 70.3 World Championship in St. George, Utah. Despite having won Ironman 70.3 St. George earlier this year, Sanders says in his latest video that because he’s been so focussed on Ironman racing over the last few months, he’s not ready for a half-distance race.

The move is hardly a surpise – after a tough day at Ironman Coeur d’Alene in June, Sanders competed at the Tri-Battle Royale against Jan Frodeno in July, then competed at Ironman Copenhagen and the Collins Cup (where he was awarded the Julie Moss Award for his “courageous” performance) on back to back weekends.

“I just do not have any leg speed,” the Windsor, Ont. native says. “I have spent three months devoted to my Ironman training, and even that was sub-par because I was trying to train through the heat for most of it, and that was a mistake and we just couldn’t hit the right paces, so the lesson it told me was there is absolutely no way you’re going to be competitive at 70.3 worlds and its not fun to go to a race that you literally know you are going to get your ass handed to you in.”

“I can tell you exactly what is going to happen,” he continues. “The front guys are going to come out two and a half minutes ahead of me, its going to be a huge group, I’m not going to be able to bridge the gap and then they’re going to outrun me by three minutes, so I’m going to finish about 15th. So, I’m going to pull it off the schedule, not because I’m ducking, but because I know exactly what is going to happen. In 2022 I intend to have a Kona spot, not chase a Kona spot for three months, and I intend to go to that race – fortunately its going to be in St. George, my favourite course. I’m going to be fully prepared because I won’t have been chasing KQs for three straight months through the heat.”

Sanders says that he has a couple of full-distance races planned instead of the worlds in St. George – he’ll compete at Ironman Chattanoog to “gain some confidence” then compete at what he’s describing as the “unnoficial world championships” in Sacramento, California.

“Just about everyone is going to be there,” Sanders says.