Daniela Ryf is going for her fifth Ironman World Championship title. Since winning her first Kona in 2015 she has defended her title three consecutive times, with last year’s performance resulting in a new course record and the world’s fastest finish time for an Ironman-branded race. Having already equalled Chrissie Wellington’s four wins, Ryf is now chasing history to match Mark Allen’s five wins. Only Natascha Badmann (six) and Paula Newby-Fraser (eight) have won more.
With two Ironman wins and the Ironman 70.3 world championship under her belt this year, the Swiss Angry Bird looks in peak form and ready to fly once more.
Jan Frodeno is looking to make his comeback at The Big Dance. He was palpably frustrated not being able to start last year due to injury and channelled that into his entire season to be fit to race against the world’s best. After defending his Ironman European Championship title in Frankfurt in June as well as snatching up two wire-to-wire Ironman 70.3 wins, could the German add another Kona title to his existing two?
“The truth is that I’m grateful to be here a year later, healthy, fit, and with a shot at the crown,” says Frodeno. “For now that’s what I’m focused on, and on Saturday I’ll do everything to get it.”
Daniela Ryf of Bahrain Endurance 13 had added to the trophy case at the beginning of September as she claimed a historic fifth consecutive Ironman 70.3 world championship in Nice.
She has been the best female in the world for several years, setting the standard and raising the bar. Last year in Kona, she rode one of the fastest splits (including the men) from Hawi back to T2. This year she’s shown she’s as strong if not stronger, beating all the men up the Alpe d’Huez climb.