GOAT warning: Mark Allen on winning in July vs winning at Kona

We’re approaching that mid point of the summer where a lot of the key races have taken place or are about to take place that will set things up for October’s IRONMAN World Championship at Kona. Things are really heating up.

The question I have though is how all this adds up for the athletes. We had the IRONMAN World Championship in May in St George – a lot of top folks there, some of them missed it. Very challenging course, very challenging race – that takes a toll. You recover, hopefully by October you’re ready to go again in Hawaii.

What about some of the other races? IRONMAN Brazil, the top three guys go under eight hours – that’s hard, that’s fast and it’s a demand on your body. Can you recover? We’ll see.

IRONMAN Frankfurt, four guys went under 8 hours, again an amazingly fast race. At Challenge Roth four men went under 8 hours and four women went under 9 hours. That is all smoking fast, what effect will that have on the athletes when they get to Kona? This is where it gets tricky.

What Mark Allen told Macca

I’ll give you an example from after I quit racing, because it was advice I gave to Chris McCormack. He had been trying to win Kona and one of his stepping stones to being hopefully fit enough to win Kona was to do Challenge Roth.

He would go into Challenge Roth in completely top shape – he was Kona lean, he was Kona fit and he would have a great race in Germany, but he couldn’t sustain it. He couldn’t recover and rebuild and be in that sort of shape again in October in Kona.

Finally I said: ‘Look, if you want to win in Hawaii, you’ve got to go into Challenge Roth fit but at the same time there has to be a little bit left that you’re trying to gain in that second half of the season’.

So he went into Challenge Roth a little bit heavy. He had a great race, and that was when he won Kona. Imagine that.

So what happens in 2022?

So what’s going to happen this year? You had heavy hitters racing in Roth, amazing fast races in Frankfurt, in Brazil.

You had Rudy Von Berg going 8:24 in Nice, slow because it was such a demanding day on a new course that had more climbing than ever before. Hot, windy, sea that was like a washing machine. Slow but demanding – how is that going to pan out in Kona? It all adds up.

I don’t know if it’s a guess or a warning to the athletes, but you have to recover from these huge efforts.

You can have these huge efforts during the year, but they have to be recovered from.

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