In the final full distance event of the year, IRONMAN Western Australia welcomes a whole host of talent “Down Under” to the legendary race venue in Busselton.
Recent Challenge Canberra winner Daniel Baekkegard will be racing back-to-back weekends and is the favourite to take the title in the men’s race, with fellow Canberra champion Els Visser doubling back in the women’s event.
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 Busselton, the professional men will start first, with the gun going off at 06:45 local time. This corresponds to 22:45 on Saturday December 2 in the UK, 23:45 in Central Europe and 14:45 on the West Coast.
The women’s race in Western Australia will commence two minutes later at 06:47 local time. This corresponds to 22:47 on Saturday in the UK, 23:47 in Central Europe and 14:47 on the East Coast.
Unfortunately, there is no live stream this weekend Down Under. 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.
In the professional women’s field, Britain’s Fenella Langridge is the top seeded athlete and will be hoping to secure Nice qualification for next season with a big result against stiff competition after a racing block in Australia.
Beaten by a matter of seconds by Visser in Canberra last weekend, Langridge will hope to turn the tables on her Dutch rival over the full distance in Busselton, as Visser remarkably races her 12th event and fifth Ironman of the year.
Visser, along with her fellow countrywoman Lotte Wilms, has enjoyed some success recently in Australia, with Wilms third at IRONMAN 70.3 Melbourne and Visser taking the tape in dramatic fashion over Langridge in Canberra.
In addition to Langridge, Visser and Wilms, Sweden’s Lisa Norden and Dane Michelle Vesterby make it a European dominated start list in Western Australia, with PTO World #20 Norden the slight favourite for the win with bookmakers Skybet who have priced up this weekend’s races and make her their 7/4 market leader.
After finishing ninth in Hawaii last month, the Olympic silver medalist looks to tick off her Nice qualification early as she continues to chase that elusive IRONMAN World Championship podium into 2024.
In the men’s race, Baekkegard is the heavy favourite with Skybet at 1/2 but will have his work cut out to pick up a second consecutive win in Australia, as home stars Samuel Appleton and Steve McKenna make the trip out to Busso.
Dangerous over the full distance, the Dane is without an IRONMAN win since 2019, when he won IRONMAN Austria by over ten minutes, in the only full distance victory of his career. Still only 27 years old, Baekkegard looks primed to pick up win number two this Sunday.
An incredibly experienced racer, Appleton has won over the middle distance in Western Australia at IRONMAN 70.3 Busselton in 2015, whilst also finishing fourth over the full distance at IRONMAN Western Australia in 2019.
McKenna, second here last year, won IRONMAN Australia and was second at IRONMAN Cairns earlier this year. Whilst the triple crown of Port Macquarie, Cairns and Busselton is out of reach, a podium at the three cornerstones of Australian long distance triathlon in 2023 would do nicely for the 32 year old.
Finally, a string of strong Aussies, including Caleb Noble, Mitchell Kibby and Matt Burton will all be waiting in the wings for a shot at the podium if one of the big three contenders has an off day on Sunday.
Prize Money: What’s on the line?
The prize purse on offer this weekend is $75,000 – with the winner collecting a $12,000 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 and three for the men in Kona and Nice next year.
The total funds will be paid ten-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.