Brits dominate one week out from IRONMAN World Championship
One week ahead of the ‘big dance’, the Ho’ala Training Swim provides athletes in Kona with a chance to race over the 2.4mile swim course of the IRONMAN World Championship. Starting from Kailua Pier, the swim only differs from race day by ending on the opposite side of the pier in Kamakahonu Bay, rather than on Dig Me Beach.
The event always attracts plenty of Pro’s and Age-Group athletes – and today’s race was sold out several weeks in advance.
12 months ago (when she was not racing the IRONMAN a week later), Great Britain’s Lucy Charles won the event overall (HERE), and she was back again – and swimming well to. She won the women’s race again – but this time was third overall, as the first man across the line – and only just, by one tenth of a second – was Harry Wiltshire (who I interviewed yesterday), who just got the verdict from the timing chip over Mike Thoren (SWE), after a sprint to the line. Lucy followed barely three seconds later.
The British run of success continued, with Tim Don proving once again his great form of 2017 in fourth, and Reece Barclay – Lucy’s fiancé and coach, just behind in fifth. Reece will be racing next Saturday in the 25-29 division, hoping to add another Umeke to that he won two years ago when racing in the 18-24 category.
Ho’ala IRONMAN Training Swim – Saturday 7th October 2017
1st – Harry Wiltshire (GBR) – 48:43.9
2nd – Mike Thoren (SWE) – 48:44.0
3rd – Lucy Charles (GBR) – 48:47.6
4th – Tim Don (GBR) – 48:54.7
5th – Reece Barclay (GBR) – 48:56.3
Other Notable Results…
One result that has already got tongues wagging is that of Lionel Sanders. The ITU Long Distance Triathlon World Champion, winner of The Championship and many more this year, had initially announced after last years race that he would be skipping Kona this year, until he felt his swim had improved to a level in which he could stick with the chase group, typically with the likes of Lionel Sanders.
For context, in 2016 the difference between swimmer leader Wiltshire (48:00) and Sanders (56:41) was approaching nine minutes. Today, Lionel was less than four minutes behind Wiltshire. For the uber biker / runner, that must be a massive positive. Of course, there is no guarantee that will be repeated in seven days time – but we can be pretty sure Mr. Sanders won’t be starting the bike ride with a deficit of close on nine minutes this year. You can be sure that the bookies will have reduced their odds on a Sanders podium finish next week already.