St George in the balance: Skipper plans on hold after positive Covid test

Brit rates chances of competing in May’s IRONMAN World Championship at 50-50

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Britain’s Joe Skipper has tested positive for Covid 19 and his plans for the IRONMAN World Championship at St George on May 7 are up in the air as a result.

He revealed the news on his ‘Triathlon Mockery’ podcast, shortly after returning from the IRONMAN South Africa event in Port Elizabeth.

Skipper was one of the favourites for that race but finished fourth behind an all-South African podium, saying he was disappointed with his performance, stating that his “run legs didn’t show up”.

After testing positive, Skipper said on the podcast he and fellow pro Tom Oosterdijk produce that he thinks he may have had the virus before the race: “I’m wondering if we caught the virus before the race. I trained so well before it, particularly on the running, and [yet] I felt so flat at the start.”

’50-50′ for St George

Skipper expanded on his lack of performance and energy, saying: “In that race, I wasn’t even on the desired pace. It felt hard. I just wanted to walk instead of run. I’ve never felt like that before in a race.”

Joe Skipper Collins Cup 2021
Joe Skipper – run was a struggle in South Africa.

The big early-season target for him has been the World Championships in Utah, but preparations are already significantly affected.

The Brit was due to fly out to America to train for two-and-a-half weeks at altitude ahead of that event but has been forced to cancel immediate plans.

He admitted: “If I’m honest it’s probably a 50-50 chance as to whether I compete at St George.”

Moreover, he is concerned about long Covid symptoms and hesitant about resuming training too soon. “I’ve heard about athletes that returned too quickly and struggled with the lingering effects of Covid. It’s been about five to six months until they feel good – and they’re so many big races this year.”

He continued: “Also, if I come back early, train poorly, or don’t feel fully fit, I will not get a good result at St George anyway. It’s not like you can really hurry it.

“So if I feel like I can get into training alright and do a couple of good sessions then I’ll race. But if it takes a while to get back and I don’t feel like I can get a result then I’m just going to have a ‘Plan B’ and look to build up gradually for another race.”

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