Stellar Field of Professional Triathletes Ready To Toe The Line at the 2019 Vega Ironman World Championship

 – Defending champions, Germany’s Patrick Lange and Switzerland’s Daniela Ryf, headline elite field in the world’s most iconic single-day endurance event
– Robust field of elite competition, including former World Champions and up-and-coming talent will look to challenge for the title on Saturday, October 12
KAILUA-KONA, Hawai`i / TAMPA, Fla. (Oct. 11, 2019) – Triathlon’s top professional talent has returned to Kailua-Kona, Hawai`i to toe the start line of the 2019 Vega IRONMAN World Championship, taking place on Saturday, Oct. 12. The most iconic single-day endurance event in the world will bring together a star-studded and highly competitive professional field, headlined by multi-year defending champions Patrick Lange (DEU) and Daniela Ryf (CHE).

“The stage is set for an impressive professional race at this year’s Vega IRONMAN World Championship,” said Andrew Messick, President & Chief Executive Officer for The IRONMAN Group. “With a fiercely competitive field, we are looking forward to a fantastic race that could be determined in the in the final miles of the race with a spirited finish on Ali`i Drive.”

The women’s professional field will be led by four-time reigning IRONMAN World Champion and owner of the course best time, Daniela Ryf (SUI), who continues to add to her impressive resume. Fresh off earning her fifth IRONMAN® 70.3® World Champion title this past September in Nice, France, Ryf also came away with victories at the Memorial Hermann IRONMAN North American Championship in Texas, IRONMAN Austria, and IRONMAN 70.3 Oceanside this year.

Up for the challenge will be a host of strong contenders, including last year’s other podium finishers Lucy Charles-Barclay (GBR) and Anne Haug (GER), as well as three-time IRONMAN World Champion, Mirinda Carfrae (AUS). Charles-Barclay, who finished runner up to Ryf for the second straight year and set a dominating new swim course best time last year completing it in 48:14 – a record untouched since 1991. Charles-Barclay opened 2019 with a repeat victory at the Standard Bank IRONMAN African Championship and a win at IRONMAN 70.3 Staffordshire in June. Haug will be looking to solidify her position as one of triathlon’s best by bettering her third-place finish from a year ago and is in good form following a win at the KMD IRONMAN Copenhagen and a third-place finish at the IRONMAN 70.3 Dubai earlier this season. Carfrae showcased that she was still amongst the elite in Kona, placing fifth in her return after spending a year away following the birth of her daughter in 2017. With wins this year at Subaru IRONMAN 70.3 Mont Tremblant and Subaru IRONMAN 70.3 Victoria presented by Jim Pattison Subaru, combined with a strong second-place showing at IRONMAN 70.3 Santa Rosa and IRONMAN 70.3 Coeur d’Alene, Carfrae will be looking to challenge the best for a podium position in Kailua-Kona.

“In the end it doesn’t matter how many titles you win, it is the performance that matters,” said Daniela Ryf. “Last year I had a fantastic performance and I am really proud; I will always remember that race when I overcame getting stung by a jellyfish and finished really strong. When not everything goes perfect and you overcome it, that is what makes me really proud.”

The women’s professional field only just begins there, as other seasoned and decorated competitors join this elite group. Top American finisher in 2018 Sarah True (USA) – who earned her ticket to Kona with a hard fought second place finish at Subaru IRONMAN Mont Tremblant in August, will be looking to improve upon her fifth place finish at the 2018 IRONMAN World Championship – while Sarah Crowley (AUS) will look to land on the podium again following her third place finish at the 2017 IRONMAN World Championship. Heather Jackson (USA), a 12-time IRONMAN 70.3 Champion and multi-time Top 5 finisher at the IRONMAN World Championship, will aim for the podium again and is coming off of an impressive win at IRONMAN Vitoria. Kaisa Sali (FIN) finished seventh in last year’s IRONMAN World Championship and Linsey Corbin (USA), fresh off a dominating victory at IRONMAN Wisconsin where she secured her spot in the 2020 IRONMAN World Championship, will be looking to better her top-ten performance in Kailua-Kona in 2019.

“It’s IRONMAN. IRONMAN should be hard. By virtue of the distance by virtue of these conditions,” said Sarah True when asked about her 2019 season and chances on Saturday.

Below is the pro women’s start list for the 2019 Vega IRONMAN World Championship:

F1 Ryf Daniela SUI
F2 Charles-Barclay Lucy GBR
F3 Haug Anne GER
F4 Carfrae Mirinda AUS
F6 Crowley Sarah AUS
F7 Sali Kaisa FIN
F8 Abraham Corinne GBR
F9 Corbin Linsey USA
F11 Jackson Heather USA
F12 Lester Carrie AUS
F14 Bartlett Nikki GBR
F15 Bilham Emma SUI
F16 Brandon Lauren USA
F17 Cheetham Susie GBR
F18 Hufe Mareen GER
F19 Huse Sue CAN
F20 McCauley Jocelyn USA
F21 Philipp Laura GER
F22 Piampiano Sarah USA
F23 Bleymehl Daniela GER
F24 Siddall Laura GBR
F25 Spieldenner Jennifer USA
F26 Steffen Caroline SUI
F27 Thoes Svenja GER
F28 Annett Jen CAN
F29 Derron Nina SUI
F30 Frades Gurutze ESP
F31 Kessler Meredith USA
F32 Kunz Martina SUI
F33 Liepold Kristin GER
F34 Mack Danielle USA
F35 Morrison Kimberley GBR
F36 Pedersen Camilla DEN
F38 Seymour Jeanni ZAF
F39 Simmonds Imogen SUI
F40 Smith Lesley USA
F41 Stage-Nielsen Maja DEN
F42 Steurer Bianca AUT
F43 Visser Els NLD
F44 Watkinson Annah RSA
F45 Withrow Kelsey USA

The men’s group is equally stacked with top contenders, including reigning two-time IRONMAN World Champion Patrick Lange (GER). Lange will seek to further his success in Kona following a monumental year that saw him become the first IRONMAN World Championship winner to break the eight-hour barrier as he set a course-best time of 7:52:39 in 2018. Most notably, fellow countryman and two-time IRONMAN World Champion Jan Frodeno (GER), returns to the start line to challenge for the title after missing the 2018 IRONMAN World Championship following a stress fracture in his hip.

“It was an interesting and obviously a hard year, having been around the sport for a while and be on the sidelines watching a race that made history was not my favorite way to spend the day,” said Jan Frodeno. “The beauty about IRONMAN is that all the predictions that come in during the week around data and who has done what and how is the wind going to be. The most fascinating thing for us athletes is just to get to the start line and see how it all unfolds, but like the others have said a very good race to watch.”

During Thursday’s professional triathlete press conference Patrick Lange was asked if he thinks about winning three-in-a-row.

“Of course, it is in the back of my mind, the chance for Jan [Frodeno] and I to be the first German to win three times. But at the end of the day you have to get to the finish line first and execute the best race you have in your tank on Saturday, that is my focus right now and everything that happens after, happens after.”

Another German contender fans will be watching is Sebastian Kienle (GER), the 2014 IRONMAN World Champion, who will be looking to redeem himself following an early exit from the 2018 IRONMAN World Championship. Kienle has enjoyed a strong 2019 and is coming off a victory this year at the Mainova IRONMAN European Championship in Frankfurt. Olympic Champion Alistair Brownlee (GBR) will make his first appearance at the IRONMAN World Championship, and appears primed for a compelling performance at triathlon’s marquee event following a win at the first edition of IRONMAN Ireland in Cork in June and a second straight runner-up finish at the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship in Nice, France. Last year’s second place finisher Bart Aeronaut (BEL), who also finished in under eight hours with a time of 7:56:41, will be returning for a shot at the title, while Scotland’s David McNamee (GBR) – who placed third in the past two editions of the IRONMAN World Championship – will look to continue his success in Kona and defend his podium spot against the star-stunned field.

Adding further to the competition will be Cameron Wurf (AUS), who set a new Ventum bike course best of 4:09:06 beating the previous best of 4:12:54 he set himself in 2017. American Matt Russell (USA) appears prepared to shine again following his stunning sixth place finish at the 2018 IRONMAN World Championship and impressive victory at the ViewSPORT IRONMAN Lake Placid victory in July. 2018’s top American finisher Tim O’Donnell (USA) will look to lay down a solid performance, as will fellow Americans Andy Potts (USA) and Ben Hoffman (USA).

Below is the pro men’s start list for the 2019 Vega IRONMAN World Championship:

M1 Lange Patrick GER
M2 Aernouts Bart BEL
M3 McNamee David GBR
M4 Frodeno Jan GER
M5 Kienle Sebastian GER
M6 O’Donnell Tim USA
M7 Currie Braden NZL
M8 Russell Matthew USA
M9 Skipper Joe GBR
M10 Potts Andy USA
M11 Wurf Cameron AUS
M12 Weiss Michael AUT
M14 Hoffman Ben USA
M15 Nilsson Patrik SWE
M16 Reed Tim AUS
M17 Sanders Lionel CAN
M18 Cunnama James RSA
M19 Boecherer Andi GER
M20 Beals Cody CAN
M21 Bakkegard Daniel DEN
M22 Llanos Eneko ESP
M24 Brownlee Alistair GBR
M25 Fontana Daniel ITA
M26 Hanson Matt USA
M27 Hogenhaug Kristian DEN
M28 Leiferman Chris USA
M29 Phillips Mike NZL
M30 Sapunov Daniil UKR
M31 Stein Boris GER
M32 Svensson Jesper SWE
M33 Trautman Matt RSA
M34 Van Berkel Jan SUI
M35 Alonso-McKernan Clemente ESP
M36 Amberger Josh AUS
M38 Clarke Will GBR
M39 Clavel Maurice GER
M40 De Elias Mario ARG
M42 Drachler Tobias GER
M43 Dreitz Andreas GER
M44 Duelsen Marc GER
M45 Frommhold Nils GER
M46 Gambles Joe AUS
M47 Koutny Philipp SUI
M48 Loeschke Franz GER
M49 Lukas Kramer GER
M50 Peterson Kennett USA
M51 Plese David SVN
M52 Schumacher Stefan GER
M53 Silvestrin Souza Frank BRA
M54 Starykowicz Andrew USA
M55 Tollakson TJ USA
M56 Van Berkel Tim AUS
M57 Viennot Cyril FRA

During the 2019 season, IRONMAN announced that the Hawaiian word `Ohana, which in the Hawaiian culture represents a specially bonded extended family, would be the theme for the 2019 IRONMAN season, culminating at the IRONMAN World Championship. Throughout the season and race week of the Vega IRONMAN World Championship, `ohana was prevalent throughout the industry and the professional athletes shared why `ohana is important to them.

“Family is very important to me, I met my husband (Tim O’Donnell) in the sport and we have grown together through this sport over the last decade and now we have our little one Izzy following us around and she is definitely soaking up all the atmosphere this year,” said Mirinda Carfrae.

“Triathlon is a family sport; everyone is the same. I think that is why triathlon is special with professional athletes racing with age-group athletes and that makes it so special,” said Daniela Ryf. “You have a bond between the professional athletes and the age-group athletes that is amazing. The pros are being supported by [age-group athletes] with them cheering for us, that makes it unique as you don’t get that in another sport. If I can be supportive and motivate other children to start triathlon that makes me very happy and it’s nice to give something back.”

The 2019 Vega IRONMAN World Championship will offer a $650,000 total professional prize purse which will be distributed to male and female first through tenth-place finishers.

In addition to the competitive professional field, approximately 2,500 athletes are registered to compete in this year’s Vega IRONMAN World Championship ranging in age from 18 to 86 have earned their championship opportunity by having finished among the best at one of more than 40 qualifying IRONMAN events worldwide.

The 2019 Vega IRONMAN World Championship will enjoy over 20 hours of comprehensive live race-day coverage globally via IRONMAN Now™ on Facebook Watch (www.facebook.com/IRONMANnow) and through regional television coverage, including NBC Sports in the United States, on local and regional stations, ARD and HR Fernsehen in Germany. This year’s IRONMAN World Championship live coverage continues to give viewers a front row seat to everything from the early morning body marking to the final hour finish-line celebration. Last year’s coverage had nearly 20 million total views on Facebook Watch with the expectation for that to grow even further in 2019.

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