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Top pro credits competitiveness of IRONMAN Pro Series, says ten women capable of podium in Texas

IRONMAN Texas contender Rebecca Clarke (NZL) shares her thoughts ahead of the second stop of the IRONMAN Pro Series in The Woodlands, where the 35-year-old is set on securing qualification to the IRONMAN World Championship in Nice.

Staff Reporter
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As one of the top contenders for the podium this weekend at IRONMAN Texas, Rebecca Clarke knows who to watch out for in the battle for the win, a slice of the prize purse and a ticket to Nice.

One of the most experienced athletes in the field, the 35-year-old is determined to punch her ticket to the French Riviera in September, where the best women in the world will go head to head.

However, the New Zealander acknowledges that it will be a real challenge, given the strength of depth she will be up against in the Lone Star State this weekend.

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“I would say about 10 girls have a chance of the podium”

Underlining the calibre of her competitors, Clarke singled out defending champion Kat Matthews as someone to keep an eye on, but said that several women were capable of top performances on Saturday.

Rebecca Clarke photo credit Korupt Vision for IRONMAN
[Photo credit: Korupt Vision for IRONMAN]

“It’s a big field with 40 women racing and I would say I’ve probably raced against about a third of the athletes on the start list.

“I would say about 10 girls have a chance of the podium so it’s going to be a very competitive race. There are a couple of very strong swimmers so I expect there will be three or four of us coming out of the water together.

” The bike course is predominantly flat but could be windy which may break up bike groups. It’s hard to predict from there, strong cyclists further back may bridge up and the humid conditions may play a part.

“I expect athletes like Kat Matthews to be the ones making the moves going into the marathon.”

“I have really wanted to race there ever since”

With six spots up for grabs in both the men and women’s races to qualify for the IRONMAN World Championship, Clarke said her main focus is on finishing inside the Top 6 in Texas.

Challenge Wanaka 2023 Women podium - Grace Thek, Els Visser, Rebecca Clarke
Photo Credit: Ray Tiddy

“My main focus is firstly Nice IRONMAN World Champs qualification. I missed out on racing there in 2019 for the IRONMAN 70.3 Worlds and I’ve really wanted to race there ever since, so securing a slot for Nice is the first goal. There are six spots for pro females so a top six would guarantee a slot.” 

In addition to Nice qualification, gaining valuable points for the IRONMAN Texas is also an objective for the Kiwi, who is targeting the IRONMAN Pro Series in 2024.

“Banking good points for the IRONMAN Pro Series is also important, each race really counts with having five races for your total points.

“The last two years I’ve raced three Ironmans a year pretty consistently which will be rewarded in this series if you can race consistently all year and across three Ironmans.

“Also, as in all races I want to have a strong performance across swim, bike and run, and know I’ve given my best effort and overcome any challenges an IRONMAN can throw at you.”

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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