Quick Notes from Today’s IRONMAN Pre-Race Press Conference and Pro Panel

The 303Triathlon team attending this morning’s pre-race press briefing. Here are some snippets from the introduction by IRONMAN CEO Andrew Messick and the pro panel that followed.

Highlights from Andrew Messick’s “State of IRONMAN”:

The next location for the 70.3 World Championship race was announced! Taupo, New Zealand in November of 2020.

2018 is shaping up to be IRONMAN’s best year ever, with 225,000 unique athletes participating events around the globe – up 10% from 2017.

IRONMAN’s 2018 partnership with Facebook has allowed them to create a bigger, broader broadcast platform with live coverage of many races, including 20 hours of live coverage, from 4 am to 1 am, for Saturday’s world championship race.

2019 will feature 41 full-distance IRONMAN races and 117 70.3s, with new races in Oman, Greece, Russia, and India.

Highlights from the pros:

Javier Gomez is excited to get out of his comfort zone in his first go at Kona. As for his expectations for Sunday, he said: “the race will put me in my place.”

Mirinda Carfrae and Tim O’Donnell both mentioned their daughter Izzy, born just over a year ago, when discussing this year’s race. Rinny has been “pleasantly surprised” with how her season has gone after coming back after giving birth and she’s excited to see how she measures up against the new talent in the sport. Tim acknowledged that he was mentally and emotionally drained at last year’s race, which was only a few weeks after Izzy’s birth; as for this year, he said he’s not phased by pressure to be the next American to win Kona: “it’s not the result, it’s the process.”

Sebastian Kienle, who won in 2014, said he’s motivated more by his disappointing finish last year: “there is nothing more dangerous to success in the future than success in the past.”

The panel concluded with a few questions from the audience. Noah Aldrich (12) asked the first question. Noah has completed 17 triathlons in tandem with his brother, Lucas (10), who suffers from a rare neurological condition called lissencephaly, and asked the pros what advice they would give to a young triathlete who hopes to one day be a pro. Patrick Lange advised him to have “fun, fun, fun” with the sport, and said to Noah, “it’s not that we’re inspiring you, you’re inspiring us.”

More than anything, I was struck by the friendship and camaraderie evident among the pros as they entered and concluded the panel. While they are clearly fierce competitors on the course, there is obvious respect and fellowship between them as well.

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