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‘It’s now or never’ – Lionel Sanders all in on Kona after advice from the GOAT

'Ten years of professional triathlon have culminated in this attempt.'

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Redefining triathlon

A message from Jan Frodeno has helped Lionel Sanders decide to go all in on the IRONMAN World Championship in Kona this year.

‘No Limits’ has already spoken at length about whether he’ll focus on the PTO Tour or the IRONMAN Pro Series – and he’s essentially now settled on the latter, thanks to a little help from a friend.

‘All about what motivates you’

In his latest YouTube video, when asked whether it’s middle or long distance for him over the coming months, he pointed to a picture on the wall of three-time Kona winner Frodeno breaking the tape in Hawaii and explained: “Well part of it was I actually messaged the GOAT right there behind me.

“I asked him his advice and he said, do you have a picture that you wish you had but you haven’t yet achieved? 

“And I’d be lying if I said that I wouldn’t want to have a picture like that – or Crowie [Craig Alexander, the winner there in 2008, 2009 and 2011] holding up that Kona banner.

So it’s all about what motivates you, what’s in the soul.

“And this journey starts with Ironman, and it ends with Ironman. And it started with Kona. And it’s going to end with Kona. So I’m all in on that.”

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‘I’m trying to pace myself this season’

Sanders of course was runner up on the Big Island in 2017 but he hasn’t made the top 20 there since – so what’s he going to change this season?

“I’m trying to pace myself this season. Gotten myself in trouble many, many – almost every – season by starting off hot, finishing weak. This season I’d like to start off hot, finish hot. 

“So building a base. Building a base. Can you believe that? A decade of experience and never built a base. Oh, how I wish I had a base and a brain!”

“I’m excited to find out and I’ll be content with whatever happens. But I’m going all in on it this time. It’s an Olympic year, literally. And for me, it’s now or never. Ten years of professional triathlon have culminated in this attempt to win the Kona race.”

Jan Frodeno / Lionel Sanders / Zwift Tri Battle Royale
Lionel Sanders and Jan Frodeno [Photo credit: Joern Pollex]
Jonathan Turner
Written by
Jonathan Turner
Jonathan Turner is News Director for both TRI247 and RUN247, and is accustomed to big-name interviews, breaking news stories and providing unrivalled coverage for endurance sports.  
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