The picturesque city of Couer d’Alene, Idaho, hasn’t hosted a full-distance race since 2017, but Ironman racing is returning to the city just outside of Spokane, Wash. with a bang this weekend. There are 2,800 athletes registered for this weekend’s race and the pros will be after a piece of the US$100,000 prize purse. Highlighting that pro field is Canadian Lionel Sanders, who has posted the first two of his “race week videos” on Youtube – from those it’s abundantly clear he’s taking this race very seriously.
“I’m itching to race, I’m hungry to race,” Sanders said in today’s video (see below).
He’s also asked what he thinks about Sam Long’s comments that he might be “sandbagging” the race in Coeur d’Alene to ensure he’s ready to take on Jan Frodeno in Germany in three weeks. Nothing could be further from the truth, according to Sanders: “If you go into an Ironman with any form of excuse … that’s where you’ll be beaten,” he said. “There is no other race.”
Sanders also talks about the fact that Patrik Nilsson won’t be competing on Sunday (it appears he’s heading to Ironman Lanzarote in July). Sanders feels that will change the race dynamics as Nilsson, a front-pack swimmer, won’t be in the lead group pushing the pace early in the bike in Coeur d’Alene.
It’s not as though Sanders won’t have some stiff competition on Sunday. Long is just one of the many men who could contend for the win on the weekend. Canadian Cody Beals has beaten Sanders both times they’ve raced at Ironman Mont-Tremblant, so he’s certainly capable of taking the win. Joe Skipper was on a tear at the end of 2019 and early in 2020, setting course records on his way to wins at Ironman Florida and Ironman New Zealand. He hasn’t shown that same form so far this year, but could very well be pacing his way towards a big race in October in Kona.
You can check out the full start list here.
Jackson highlights women’s field
American Heather Jackson heads into the race in Coeur d’Alene as the woman to beat, but she’ll have to work hard for the win. Carrie Lester, who we saw dominate the last running of Ironman Mont-Tremblant in 2019, is in the field, as is the winner of the last two Ironman Wisconsin events, Linsey Corbin. Others in the field who could be in the mix include Great Britain’s Fenella Langridge, super-swimmer Lauren Brandon (USA), along with her countrywomen Sarah Piampiano and Kelly Fillnow. Canada’s Rachel McBride is also competing this weekend.
The race will be streamed live on Facebook Watch via the IRONMAN Now® Channel with coverage starting at 4:45 a.m. PST / 7:45 a.m. ET.