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IRONMAN Florida: Start time, preview and how to follow

A preview for IRONMAN Florida, which takes place this weekend.

Staff Reporter
Last updated -
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This is a preview for IRONMAN Florida, which was won by Americans Rudy von Berg and Skye Moench.

IRONMAN Florida will celebrate its 25th anniversary this weekend, as Panama City Beach hosts one of the most iconic North American long course races on a flat and fast course in the Sunshine State.

Following the cancellation of IRONMAN Israel, the professional star list has been bolstered by the addition of some of the athletes who were set to race in the Middle East, including Danish titan Magnus Ditlev.

With a strong mix of international and domestic stars, the battle for the wins will be ferocious on Saturday. In our preview piece below, you can find all you need to know about start times, tracking and who to look out for.

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Start time and how to follow

The race will take place on Saturday November 4. In Florida, the professional men will start first, with the gun going off at 06:40 local time. This corresponds to 11:40 in the UK, 12:40 in Central Europe and 04:40 on the West Coast.

The women’s race in Panama City Beach will commence five minutes later at 06:45 local time. This corresponds to 11:45 in the UK, 12:45 in Central Europe and 04:45 on the West Coast.

Unfortunately, there is no live stream this weekend in Florida. 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.

Pro Men

In the men’s race, Danish superstar Ditlev will be looking to cap off a magnificent year by validating his slot for the 2024 IRONMAN World Championship in Kona. The PTO World #2, who finished third at the IRONMAN World Championship in Nice, has landed on the podium at every race he has finished so far this season.

Magnus Ditlev at the men's IRONMAN World Championships.
[Photo Credit – Donald Miralle for IRONMAN]

Having won Challenge Roth in record breaking fashion at the start of the summer, Ditlev is the heavy favourite for this weekend’s clash. After spending the past few weeks training in Lanzarote with fellow Dane Daniel Baekkegard, Ditlev will have half an eye on Gustav Iden’s 2021 course record of 7:42:57.

Taking on Ditlev are a number of formidable opponents, including French duo Arthur Horseau and Denis Chevrot. Chevrot, who won IRONMAN Hamburg but didn’t finish in Nice, has the run speed to put Ditlev under pressure if he is within range off the bike, whilst Horseau seems to be continually developing over the full distance.

From the home team, Americans Rudy von Berg and Matthew Marquardt will both look to replicate their IRONMAN Texas performances from earlier in the year, where von Berg won and Marquardt finished on his first professional podium.

Rudy von Berg, Matthew Marquardt and Rob Wilkowiecki at IRONMAN Texas
[Photo Credit – Kyle Rivas / Getty Images for IRONMAN]

Rudy von Berg pushed Ditlev hard in the closing stages of the marathon in Nice, but couldn’t quite hold on for what would’ve been a memorable podium in his home town. Having faced a race against time to get fit following a bike crash in the build up to Nice, however, von Berg may now have the training time under his belt required to go toe-to-toe with DItlev.

Finally, fan favourite Joe Skipper, who previously held the course record here after winning in 2019, had been intending to take part again but a worrying health scare at the weekend means he’s now called an early halt to his season. We wish him well with his recovery.

Pro Women

On the women’s side, Skye Moench starts in search of a first professional victory since IRONMAN Des Moines back in June 2022. Seventh in Kona at the start of October, the PTO World #14 is the favourite to win this weekend.

Skye Moench of the United States of America react after crossing the finish line of the IRONMAN European Championship Frankfurt on July 02, 2023 in Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Photo by Jan Hetfleisch/Getty Images for IRONMAN

Lining up besides Moench will be fellow Americans Jocelyn McCauley, Alice Alberts and Lauren Brandon. Alberts, after wins at IRONMAN Lake Placid and IRONMAN Maryland, is a strong shout for the podium, with both McCauley and Brandon returning after racing at the IRONMAN World Championship.

Italian Giorgia Priarone, who currently sits at PTO World #42, won IRONMAN 70.3 Maine earlier in the season but after not finishing in her full distance debut last year at IRONMAN Israel, may be fully focused on getting to the finish. A great runner, Priarone was seventh at the World Triathlon Long Distance Championships in May.

Next up, a pair of Canadians, Rach McBride and Jen Annett, have both struggled a little this season after some great form last year. Annett, who was second behind Moench in Des Moines last June, did finish third at IRONMAN Lake Placid and is an outside bet for the podium.

Finally, Britain’s India Lee, who has experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows this year with a win at Challenge “The Championship” followed by a DNF at the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship, will look to finish her season on a high.

India Lee wins the Challenge Championship in Samorin 2023 [Photo credit: Activimages / Challenge Family]
[Photo credit: Activimages / Challenge Family]

The former short course athlete who made her full distance debut with sixth at IRONMAN Israel last year, will be gunning for a slot at a first IRONMAN World Championship when she toes the line in Florida. A phenomenal swim-biker, Lee has a real chance of finishing on the podium this weekend.

Prize Money: What’s on the line?

The prize purse on offer this weekend is $100,000 – with the winner collecting a $15,000 share of that total.

In addition to money, there will be a total of six qualifying slots for the IRONMAN World Championship, with three for the women in Nice and three for the men in Kona next year. 

The total funds will be paid ten-deep, as follows:

  1. $15,000
  2. $9,000
  3. $7,000
  4. $5,000
  5. $4,000
  6. $3,000
  7. $2,500
  8. $2,000
  9. $1,500
  10. $1,000

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.

Tomos Land
Written by
Tomos Land
Tomos Land is a triathlon & running journalist whose expertise lies in the professional world of short course & long distance triathlon, though he also boasts an extensive knowledge of ultra-running.
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