The 2010 Ironman World Championship is this Saturday in Kona, HI.
The top athletes in the sport of long-course triathlon will race for the title starting at 6am (12pm EST) on Saturday. Although I have
never yet to race in an Ironman distance triathlon, I do know that it takes a special athlete to qualify to race in the World Championship…yes, that’s right, you have to be invited to Kona.
How do you qualify? It’s very difficult…and somewhat confusing.
Athletes qualify by earning a spot at one of the qualifying events – which are open to citizens of all countries – held throughout the year. Qualifier races include a few half-ironmans and full distance races.
Each event awards Ironman slots to its top 3-4 age group finishers (depending on the race), with some races also awarding professional qualifying spots.
Athletes may also gain entry by being selected through the Ironman Lottery.
1800 spots are given to those who quality, only 200 spots are given to lottery winners. With close to 100,000 people racing in the 24 qualifying events, it’s VERY tough to qualify to Kona!
So needless to say, it takes a very gifted (or extremely lucky) athlete to make it to the Championship.
Craig Alexander is the two time defending champ on the men’s side, but my money is on Chris Lieto this year. In the women’s race, Chrissie Wellington should walk away with her third straight title. Barring an injury or mechanical issue during the race, no one will be close to her…again.
21.29 miles in 2:58:08 (8:22 min/mile pace)
Once I got about 4 miles in, I started to feel strong. I was running at a pace between 8:00 and 8:15 per mile and feeling good (heart rate was in the mid 140’s). I was smashing hills and cruising on the flats. All was well until I hit the last hill coming out of Seneca Park around mile 17. It’s tough, but I’ve run it many times without issue. This time was different. My legs stared to burn going up the hill and I knew when I reached the top I was done. I struggled to keep my pace under 9 minutes per mile the remaining 3-4 miles. Not sure why my legs gave out, but pushing to finish strong was a good mental test! Check out the chart below showing elevation and my pace.
Avg HR = 148 bpm
Max HR = 164 bpm