Alistair Brownlee is set to make his Kona debut. After winning a rainy, wet, swim-less Ironman Ireland in June and securing his starting spot, he turned his attention to getting ready for the conditions he would encounter in the unique environs of the Big Island. The dual Olympic gold medalist from Great Britain has been in training camp in Arizona since September and arrived early in Hawaii to make his final preparations.
Brownlee says, “I think there is lots to learn about racing Kona and plenty of pitfalls, especially for first timers, but I have trained hard for the last four weeks to prepare for the conditions and worked hard on a nutrition strategy. Having never raced a full Ironman (the swim was cancelled in Cork) it will be a new experience and one that I am looking forward to. Of course, I want to be competitive, but this year is about experiencing this special race for the first time.”
David Plese secured his Kona spot early this year with a second-place finish at the Ironman North American Championship in Texas, clinching it on the marathon. The Slovenian is making his sixth Ironman World Championship appearance as a professional athlete.
With qualification safely in the bag, he has been able to use that lead time to work on his strengths as well as weaknesses. He says, “I was in good shape last year so I didn’t want to change anything. If all goes as I planned, I can make a great result for myself this year. I expect to have my fastest swim in Kona this year. My bike split last year was four hours, 12 minutes. If I can repeat that I would be very satisfied. And on the run, I want to run like I know I am capable of.”