Australia’s reigning 70.3 Ironman queen Melissa Hauschildt will be chasing her own little slice of history in Mont-Tremblant, Quebec, Canada on Sunday.
No other triathlete in the event’s history has won three Ironman 70.3 World Championships and together with defending men’s champion, Germany’s two-time winner Sebastian Kienle, the 31-year-old Gold Coaster will be right in the firing line.
She has already had another extraordinary year – taking her career Half Ironman/70.3 wins to 20 with her 2014 victories at Ironman Vineman, Racine and Timberman – setting a race record of 4hrs 11.51 in Racine.
Easily Australia’s most consistent triathlete, Hauschildt, will line up against 2010 winner, Great Britain’s Jodie Swallow; last year’s placegetters Heather Jackson (USA) and Australia’s own Annabelle Luxford as well as two-time runner-up in 2008 and 2009 Mary Beth Ellis (USA).
Hauschildt will be among just over 250 Australian Elite and Age Group Triathletes who will join almost 2,500 competitors world wide and it comes just one week after the ITU World Triathlon Championships in Edmonton.
And while Hauschildt, who won as Melissa Rollison in 2011 and again last year, both in Henderson, Nevada will start favourite in the Elite Women’s race, there will be a host of Australian men chasing down Kienle], trying to prevent a three-peat to the talented German.
Australia will be represented by a host of big names, including last year’s bronze medallist Joe Gambles and Olympians Brad Kahlefeldt, who was third in last week’s rich Hi-Vee race behind 38-year-old four-time US Olympian Hunter Kemper; three-time ITU World Champion and two-time Olympian Peter Robertson.
Other Aussie contenders include Tim Reed, Leon Griffin, Sam Appleton, Tim Van Berkel;, Josh Armberger, Clayton Fettell, Jimmy Seear, Alex Reithmeier and John Polson.
Reed is coming off 70.3 wins in Texas and the Vineman race where he clocked the fastest bike split; Robertson was thrilled with his second place in 70.3 Europe which saw van Berkel in fifth, so the men’s race will be an intriguing affair.
The picturesque Mont-Tremblant, a beautiful ski resort surrounded by green mountains and gondolas is in complete contrast to the flat surrounds of Edmonton.
Australia’s age groupers will again be out in force, like two-time world champion from Edmonton in the 70-74 years age group Ken Murley, who won gold in the Sprint and Standard (Olympic) Distance.
He will be out for his slice of history as well – trying to become one of the few triathletes to win all three distances in one year.
Others entered in the Age Group categories will be Brad Kahlefeldt’s brother Jared (25-29 years); Elite Under 23 team member from Edmonton Matt Baker, who was a member of Australia’s silver medal winning Under23/Junior Mixed Teams Relay.
The USA will again top the entries with 975 registered competitors, accounting for over 38 percent of entrants this year, followed by hoist nation Canada (403) Australia (253), France (94), United Kingdom (92) and Brazil (77).
The oldest participant, Bob Scott, an 83-year-old from Naperville, Illinois and the youngest, Emma Langley, an 18-year-old female from Cos Cob, Connecticut are among the competitors hailing from 87 different countries in hopes of winning an age-group World Championship title.
The 2014 field of athletes, will tackle a 1.2-mile swim in Tremblant Lake, followed by a 56-mile bicycle ride through the Laurentian Mountains and finally a 13.1-mile run that finishes in the Tremblant resorts pedestrian village, all done within eight and half hours.
“It is an exciting time of year as we bring our IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship outside of the United States for the first time. Mont-Tremblant has been an incredible host for races in the past and we know it will provide the perfect setting for the accomplishment of nearly 2,500 elite athletes,” said Andrew Messick, Chief Executive Officer of IRONMAN.
“With over 120,000 athletes striving every year to be among the top athletes to compete, it is a testament to the growth of the sport since the IRONMAN 70.3 Series was introduced in 2006. We wish every athlete from all walks of life the best of luck as they accomplish their goals and chase a World Championship.”