Former champion Lionel Sanders explains mindset heading into IRONMAN 70.3 Oceanside clash

Lionel Sanders, one of the most successful racers ever at IRONMAN 70.3 Oceanside, will return in 2024 with his sights set on a first win since taking back-to-back victories in 2016.

Staff Reporter
Last updated -

Having won back-to-back titles in 2016 and 2017, Canadian fan favourite Lionel Sanders will be lining up at IRONMAN 70.3 Oceanside this weekend as one of a number of top contenders.

Untested in over six months, with his last race a third place finish at IRONMAN 70.3 Augusta, the 36-year-old has made it his mission to perform in the IRONMAN Pro Series this season.

Up against former foes such as Germany’s Patrick Lange and American Sam Long, the Windsor native shared his pre-race thoughts on YouTube ahead of the clash this Saturday.


Formative experiences in Oceanside

Reminiscing on past performances in SoCal, Sanders has particularly fond memories of racing there in 2015, when he went up against German giant Jan Frodeno.

“Oceanside 70.3 has been a staple on my calendar for the entirety of my career. I’ve had many formative experiences, many ups and downs, 2015 of course being my highlight.

“In 2015, I had no knowledge of anything, anger deep inside of me, bridging the gap to the front, coming off with Jan [Frodeno] and going toe-to-toe for 5km before getting dropped and blowing up heavy, Andy Potts passing me and I ended up finishing third.

“Formative experience, cruel, cruel experience and in ten years I never got to go toe-to-toe with Frodeno again, that sucked.” 

“I feel exceptionally confident”

Discussing his chances ahead of this weekend, Sanders said that he is confident of success in the season ahead, but admitted that no matter what the result was in Oceanside, his plan would remain unchanged.

IRONMAN 70.3 Oceanside 2022: Men's podium - Jackson Laundry, Lionel Sanders, Rudy Von Berg
Photo Credit: Donald Miralle / IRONMAN

“I am working with the best people in the world, so I feel exceptionally confident. Is it going to pan out in Oceanside? Am I going to have a stand out performance? It doesn’t matter.

“I already made the mistake in Oceanside 2018, when I went up against Jan, got my ass handed to me and threw everything out of the window. It’s all good, I’m on the path now. I’m on a good path now and we will stick to it.” 

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.


In episode 1 of our new SBRX Show we sit down with ultra runners and coaches Kim and Jayson Cavill to get their take on the Barkley Marathons and triathlon & trail running gear reviews, training tips and more
Discover more
Sumarpo vanguard vs Zone 3 Vanquish X triathlon wetsuits
ZONE3 Vanquish X wetsuit vs Sumarpo Vanguard wetsuit – how do these triathlon wetsuits match up?
Essential Beginner's Triathlon Gear & KIt
Triathlon gear for beginners: essential kit for getting started
open water swimming Sumarpo wetsuit
How to improve swimming endurance – PRO tips to help you swim further in open water
sumarpo triathlon swimming wetsuit
Wetsuit buying guide – How to choose the best wetsuit for triathlon, open water swimming, SwimRun and cold water
Aviles Duathlon
What is a duathlon? Beginner’s guide to distances, training plans and kit
latest News
Lucy Charles-Barclay IRONMAN World Championship Kona 2023 Tape
IRONMAN France 2024: Start time, preview and how to follow live as Lucy Charles-Barclay chase Nice validation
T100 San Francisco 2024 Men sprint finish - Marten Van Riel, Kyle Smith, Rico Bogen
Kyle Smith says Olympic Games triathlon dream still alive but focus now turns to Taupo glory bid
Joe Skipper IRONMAN Arizona 2022 [Photo credit Patrick McDermott Getty Images for IRONMAN]
IRONMAN Cairns 2024: Start time, preview and how to watch on livestream or TV
India Lee (GBR) crosses the finish line in first in Miami.
British triathlon star India Lee reveals she almost QUIT the sport before receiving lifeline contract
Pierre Le Corre Leo Bergere WTCS Sunderland finish 2023 photo credit World Triathlon / Tommy Zaferes
Olympic Games triathlon: Which athletes have qualified so far for Paris 2024?
triathlon on your terms
Never miss out with our triathlon alerts & digest. Get a dose of adventure & inspiration with Boundless.
Invalid email address
The SBRX Group

Proudly elevating endurance sports through content, products & services

Share to...