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‘Huge middle-distance season’ beckons for Sam Long as he rules out Lake Placid

The world number six has revealed he will focus on middle-distance racing for the rest of this season and won't target the IMWC in Nice.

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Sam Long has confirmed he’s all-in on middle distance racing for the rest of this year – and will resist the temptation to qualify for the IRONMAN World Championship in Nice.

Three flat tyres scuppered the ‘Big Unit’ at IRONMAN Coeur d’Alene last weekend as he was a DNF in a race won by Chris Leiferman.

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Clear focus

That left him still needing to qualify if he wanted to take part in the first IMWC to be held in Nice.

And the only remaining North American option is IRONMAN Lake Placid on 23 July.

But writing on Instagram, Long said: “My plan remains unchanged. I will not pursue Lake Placid as many have suspected and will focus fully on a huge middle distance championships season.”

The 70.3 Worlds will take place in Lahti, Finland this year on 27 August while the PTO US Open three weeks earlier could be another prime target, though much more important than that is the fact that he and partner Lara Gruden are expecting their first child in the near future which could obviously dictate the race schedule.

Sam Long wins IRONMAN 70.3 St George 2023 [Photo credit: Jacob Kupferman / Getty Images for IRONMAN]
[Photo credit: Jacob Kupferman / Getty Images for IRONMAN]

Looking forward

The 27-year-old American is up to #6 in the PTO rankings after a season which has featured three straight wins, all of them at middle distance.

And he of course has unfinished business with the 70.3 Worlds after that contentious bike penalty which dropped him out of contention in St George last year, 12 months on from his second place in the event behind Gustav Iden.

But he bounced back from that day and it sounds like he’s doing the same following last weekend’s frustrations, adding on Instagram: “I’ve moved past this setback the best of any in my career. Focus on what you can control and I had no control in 3 flats.”

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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