Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Kona Preview & Predictions 2014 - Women's Race

As was done last year, here's a little preview of the Ironman World Championships. This year it's ladies first! If you aren't familiar, at each Ironman and Ironman 70.3 race throughout the year, pros compete for prize money as well as pre-determined points based on placing. The top 30 women on the 2014 points list have earned a spot on Saturday’s start line (in addition to a couple of automatic qualifiers).

Here’s the breakdown by country of the women’s pros who made the cut:

USA: 14
UK: 7
Switzerland: 4
Germany: 3
Australia, Canada, New Zealand: 2
Belgium, Denmark, Netherlands, Sweden: 1

Triple Threat teammate David Wild (HI) with Mirinda Carfrae & Tim O'Donnell

A little recent Kona history:

In 2007 a then unknown British triathlete named Chrissie Wellington shocked the triathlon world by storming to a Kona victory. From that point on she was virtually invincible, winning everything in her path including four Kona titles. A few months after winning her 4th in 2011, she shocked the triathlon world once again by announcing her retirement. This opened the door of opportunity in a big way for the rest of the field. Leanda Cave continued the UK dominance in 2012, claiming both the Ironman and Ironman 70.3 crowns. Australia’s Mirinda Carfrae took advantage of Chrissie not racing in 2010 due to illness, then proved that performance was no fluke last year, breaking Chrissie's course record en route to her second title. The women’s field is as strong as it's ever been this year, so should be a great race!

Who I’d like to see win:

Meredith Kessler
Heather Wurtele (Canada): 6x Ironman Champion lives the simple life with her pro triathlete husband, bouncing around North America living and training out of an RV. Has had a terrific year, including 1st at IM Coeur d'Alene and 3rd at the 70.3 World Champs last month.

Meredith Kessler (USA): Despite routinely having the most pros in the field, an American woman hasn’t won Kona since 1995. Would love to see Meredith break that drought! She was 7th last year and has had a great 2014 season, including 1st at the US 70.3 Championships.

Caroline Steffen (Switzerland): as I said last year, "this ain’t the Swiss Miss from the hot chocolate packets"… the ripped chick they call Xena has been close on multiple occasions, placing 2nd in 2010 and 2012 before dropping to 5th last year. Now coached by Chris McCormack, and I'd be happy to see her break through.

My prediction for the women’s podium:

Mirinda Carfrae (Australia): pocket rocket from Down Under and the defending champion has her work cut out for her, but should take care of business once again. Has greatly improved her bike splits over the past couple years to go with her always dominant run.

Daniela Ryf (Switzerland): is undefeated thus far this season, including the 70.3 World Championships last month. Former Olympian should be a force to be reckoned with before ultimately succumbing to Carfrae on the run.

Meredith Kessler (USA): as mentioned Meredith's had some big wins this year, and she's a scrappy competitor... this could be the year she sneaks onto the podium. 

Follow live coverage of the race Saturday, Oct. 11th on ironman.com!

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