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Everything You Need to Know About the 2018 Ironman World Championship

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It’s time for the Super Bowl of the triathlon world. On Saturday, October 13, thousands of the fittest, most elite athletes on the planet will take part in the 2018 Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii.


The Ultimate Triathlon Gear Guide

The total 140.6-mile race is a test of endurance, stamina, mental fortitude, and physical ability as the racers swim, bike, and run their way through the beautiful landscapes of Kona.

 

 

This is a significant year for the race, as it’s the 40th anniversary of the event. The original Ironman World Championship took place back in 1978 on the island of Oahu, but things have been on the “Big Island” of Kona since 1981. After a long year of other big triathlon races around the world, everything is converging in Kona.

Arnaud Selukov of France races ahead during the IRONMAN World Championship on October 14, 2017 in Kailua Kona, Hawaii. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images for IRONMAN)
Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images for IRONMAN

Here’s everything you need to know about the 2018 Ironman World Championship.


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The Swim Course

The event starts off with the 2.4-mile swim that goes through the Kailua Bay, taking the athletes parallel to the shoreline. The swimmers will pass numerous buoys along the way before turning and coming back to finish off the swim part of the event. Depending on the wind, the water could be a bit choppy for the swimmers. Check here for the full route map

Maxx Wolfson/Getty Images for IRONMAN

The Run Course

The 26.2-mile marathon is the final leg of the Ironman and will take the athletes through Alii Drive, Palani Road, the Queen Ka’ahumanu Highway, and then will loop back to the finish. The course has a starting elevation of 5 feet and the total elevation gain for the athletes is 1,009 feet. Check here for the full route map

 

Tom Pennington/Getty Images for IRONMAN

TV Coverage Is on NBC

NBC Sports Network will have the television coverage for the race, starting up at 12:30 p.m. E.T. on Saturday. Steve Schlanger will handle play-by-play, while former Olympian Julie Swail Ertel and veteran NFL athletic trainer and experienced Ironman participant Mike Ryan will serve as analysts. There also will be streaming coverage of the race on the NBC Sports app, the NBC Sports website, as well as on  IRONMAN.com and IRONMAN Now on Facebook Watch.

Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images for IRONMAN

Some Rain Could Hit on Saturday

The forecast in Kona is predicting some rain for the day of the race in the afternoon, according to the West Hawaii Today newspaper. The National Weather Service in Honolulu said that “there’s a chance there could be heavier showers or a thunderstorm in the afternoon.” While that shouldn’t disrupt the start of the race, depending on the time, it could be a factor for some of the elite groups in the marathon part of the race. 

 

Tom Pennington/Getty Images for IRONMAN

The Race Schedule

Things will kick off bright and early at 6:35 a.m. local time with the men’s professional/elite athletes before the women’s pro/elite athletes start up right after at 6:40 a.m. The rest of the competitors will follow along after that first wave. 

Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images for IRONMAN

The Defending Champions

In 2017 on the men’s side, Patrick Lange won the Ironman World Championship with a time of eight hours, one minute, and 40 seconds. Lange impressively broke the previous record at the championship, which was held by Australian Craig Alexander since 2011. 

On the women’s side, Daniela Ryf won the title for the third straight year. Ryf still holds the course record after setting it in 2016, and she’ll try and make it four in a row this year—and potentially break her own record. 

 

Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images for IRONMAN

The Favorites

Mirinda Carfrae will try and challenge Ryf after sitting out last year. Carfrae previously held the world record before Ryf broke it, and she could bounce back with a victory on Saturday. American Heather Jackson is expected to make a challenge after finishing fifth in 2017. Meanwhile, Patrick Lange remains a favorite after his record time in 2017, and he’ll have some stiff competition this year. Sebastian Kienle came in fourth last year and is expected to make a challenge, while Lionel Sanders had a lead on Lange until very late in the race last year and will be looking to make up for that loss. David McNamee made it onto the podium last year and is expected to have a good showing in 2018.

Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images for IRONMAN

The post Everything You Need to Know About the 2018 Ironman World Championship appeared first on Men's Journal.



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