This was our preview of IRONMAN Coeur d’Alene 2023. Click here for full results and report as Jodie Robertson and Chris Leiferman claimed home wins in the pro races.
Idaho hosts the penultimate chance for professional men to qualify on North American soil for the 2023 IRONMAN World Championships in Nice on September 10, as racing heads up north to the Gem State today (Sunday June 25).
With a bumper prize purse and slots to the world championships on offer, both the men and women’s races have competitive fields which include the likes of in-form American Sam Long and Ironman champion Haley Chura.
In our preview below, you can find all the details you need – and you can watch every second live…
Start time and WATCH LIVE
The professional men’s race in Idaho will begin at 06:00 local time on Sunday June 25, with the professional women starting five minutes later at 06:05. This corresponds to 09:00/09:05 Eastern Time, 14:00/14:05 UK Time and 15:00/15:05 CET.
The race is streamed live and you can watch every second here without leaving TRI247 – just click on the embed below.
As always, the IRONMAN Tracker app on mobile devices is your essential addition if you want to check out the race data as it happens, with splits available throughout the day across the swim, bike and run.
In the men’s race, the man with the plan, self-coached Long, is the athlete to beat, as he heads to Idaho off the back of three consecutive middle distance wins so far this season.
The American, who has turned his season around after winning the IRONMAN 70.3 North American Championships in St George last month will be tackling the full distance event for the first time since last November, where he finished a poor 10th at IRONMAN Arizona.
Up against a start list with a strength of field rating of 75.39, Long is the heavy favourite and as PTO World #6 is one of the highest ranked athletes yet to have secured his slot for Nice in September. If all goes well, Long will be heading to the French Riviera after his fourth consecutive win.
Looking through the rest of the field, there are a number of podium contenders, but nobody who can realistically challenge Long if the “Big Unit” sticks to his guns and doesn’t blow up. Chris Leiferman, third behind Long and Lionel Sanders last weekend at IRONMAN 70.3 Boulder, could well feature.
Fellow Americans Dylan Gillespie and Justin Metzler could challenge for the remaining Nice slots and from further afield, Sam Appleton of Australia and Igor Amorelli of Brazil have the quality to beat the majority of a largely domestic field.
Finally, Matthew Marquardt, despite being PTO World #422, could be a dark horse for the podium, having just lost out on the win at IRONMAN Texas in April by a matter of seconds. The rookie, who is currently also in medical school, has the quality across the board to make it back-to-back podiums.
With a strength of field rating of 63.52, the women’s race in Idaho lacks the depth and quality of the men’s race, but still has a number of good athletes who will be battling it out for the podium and a spot at the world championships in Kona.
American Chura is the pick of the field and having won the middle distance race here in 2017, will be looking to add the full distance trophy to her mantlepiece. Second in her last race at Challenge Puerto Varas in Chile, Chura can go one step higher in Idaho.
Next, former short course star Ai Ueda of Japan could well get the long course breakthrough she has been looking for in Coeur d’Alene, with the three-time Olympian looking to qualify for her first ever IRONMAN World Championships this weekend.
Last month, Ueda finished in the top ten at the World Long Course Championships in Ibiza and despite having only finished on a podium once in a long course race, last year at IRONMAN 70.3 Waco, her results have been trending towards a podium performance.
Finally, Canadian duo Jen Annett and Melanie McQuaid will be hoping for good races, with Annett in particular a podium contender having finished second at IRONMAN Des Moines and IRONMAN Mont Tremblant last season.
At 50 years of age, McQuaid may well be the oldest professional in the field, but after finishing third at IRONMAN Wisconsin last season, still has what it takes to feature at the front of domestic races.
Prize Money: What’s on the line?
IRONMAN Coeur d’Alene offers a substantial prize purse, with $100,000 and the winners taking a $15,000 slice of the kitty.
As well as the money, there are three slots for the men and three slots for the women for their respective IRONMAN World Championships. This year, the men’s race will be in Nice, whilst the women’s will be in Kona.
The total funds will be paid ten-deep, as follows:
Of course, in addition to the on-the-day prizes, the results of this event will contribute to the athletes’ PTO Rankings, which has a significant prize fund on offer. This year, IRONMAN Coeur d’Alene is a Silver Tier race on the PTO calendar, with all the details on the new PTO tiering system for the 2023 season available here.