This is a preview of the event – click here to read about a dominant day for Norwegian athletes.
As the season draws to a close, IRONMAN 70.3 Indian Wells in California will mark the last middle distance event of the North American calendar after an exciting and action packed year.
Defending champion Sam Long returns to face off against a strong field in the men’s race, whilst Tamara Jewett looks to go one better than last year with the Canadian coming in ranked highest in the women’s race.
In our preview piece below, you can find all the details you need, including start times, information on how to follow live and an in-depth look at both the men and women’s professional field.
Start time and how to follow live
The race will take place on Sunday December 3. In California, the professional men will start first, with the gun going off at 07:00 local time. This corresponds to 15:00 in the UK, 16:00 in Central Europe and 10:00 on the East Coast.
The women’s race in Indian Wells will commence two minutes later at 07:02 local time. This corresponds to 15:02 in the UK, 16:02 in Central Europe and 10:02 on the East Coast.
Unfortunately, there is no live stream this weekend in Indian Wells. However, the ever reliable IRONMAN Tracker App is a useful companion and will provide up-to-date splits throughout the swim, bike and run for the professional and age group races.
Leading the way in the men’s field, defending champion Long will look to extend his winning streak over the middle distance on home soil, having won the last three US IRONMAN 70.3 events he’s entered in St. George, Gulf Coast and Boulder.
Amongst the main challengers in Indian Wells will be last year’s IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship runner-up Ben Kanute, who is racing for the first time since August, and Canadian Jackson Laundry, who has six middle distance domestic podiums to his name in 2023.
Trevor Foley, training partner of Lionel Sanders, didn’t finish here last season. However, the 24 year old from Florida has been much more consistent in 2023 and is a credible podium threat, along with fellow former short course athlete Marc Dubrick.
In August at the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship, Dubrick was the top American, finishing in eighth place. This weekend, the RTS athlete will have the opportunity to prove again he’s the best American over the middle distance against some stiff competition.
Bringing some international flavour to a North American dominated start list, Frenchman Dylan Magnien will line up in Indian Wells for the first time. Second last month at IRONMAN Portugal, Magnien could tick off qualification for Taupo in addition to his Kona slot on Sunday.
Finally, Norwegians Casper Stornes and Vetle Bergsvik Thorn have quietly added their names to the start list. Stornes, who has three middle distance podiums to his name, will be a contender, whilst Thorn will want to test himself after not finishing his previous first attempt at middle distance racing in Dallas last year.
In the women’s race, Jewett leads the way in a weaker field, with the strength of field rating a 73.1 compared to the men’s strength of field rating of 83.65 [click here to find out what that means].
Having won IRONMAN 70.3 Oceanside and IRONMAN 70.3 Michigan this year, Jewett comes into the race as the firm favourite and has a great shot of finishing her season as she started, with a win in California.
In terms of the rest of the field, American Jackie Hering leads the way for the home side having finished on the podium in two of her last three domestic middle distance events, but is without a win yet this year.
Lesley Smith is another strong American, but hasn’t raced since the PTO Tour US Open at the beginning of August, with Amy Cymerman another contender for the podium after a season that included second at IRONMAN 70.3 Maine.
From further afield, Norwegian Solveig Lovseth makes the trip over from Europe with teammates Stornes and Thorn, whilst Britain’s Jodie Stimpson races for just the second time in 2023, after a DNF at Challenge Sanremo in September.
Prize Money: What’s on the line?
The prize purse on offer this weekend is $50,000 – with the winner collecting a $7,500 share of that total.
In addition to money, there will be a total of four qualifying slots for the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship, with two for the women and two for the men in Taupo next year.
The total funds will be paid eight-deep, as follows:
Following the recent significant changes to the PTO’s World Ranking System, the status of a race will play a notable part towards the ranking points that an athlete can earn, with those points determining the year-end world ranking position and thus, potentially, a share of the $2million bonus, which will now be shared by the top-50 athletes, rather than the top-100 of previous years.