One month to go until Kona 2015 and Ironman has released the full pro starters list, with ten British athletes set to toe the start line in Hawaii.
There are four British men on the list: Tim Don, Joe Skipper, David McNamee and Fraser Cartmell. Out of this four, Don is ranked highest thanks to a raft of strong performances that have included wins at Ironman 70.3 Monterrey, Ironman 70.3 Latin American Champs Brasilia and the Ironman 70.3 North American Champs St. George. He also came second at Ironman 70.3 Boulder, and could deliver big things on his Hawaii debut.
Joe Skipper comes third at Ironman UK
Joe Skipper meanwhile has enjoyed a stellar 2015 that included fastest bike leg at Ironman Texas, third at the ITU Long Distance World Champs and third at Ironman UK. It was David McNamee, racing his first M-dot season since leaving ITU racing, who won Ironman UK this year in a time of 8:46:37. Cartmell top results this year include second at Ironman UK, and sixth at Ironman 70.3 Kraichgau.
Top name on the men’s starting list? 2014 champ Sebastian Kienle, of course. The German superbiker won Ironman 70.3 Kraichgau back in June, and came second at Ironman Frankfurt. It was his compatriot Jan Frodeno who won out at the Ironman European Champs, and Frodeno sits second in the rankings thanks to a win at the 70.3 Worlds recently.
Jan Frodeno wins Ironman 70.3 World Champs 2015 (image: Nils Nilsen/Ironman)
Other top-ranked men include 2013 Kona champ Frederik Van Lierde (BEL), Ben Hoffman (USA) who came second last year, multiple Escape from Alcatraz winner Andy Potts (USA), Nils Frommhold (GER) and Timothy Van Berkel (AUS). Bart Aernouts (BEL), Lionel Sanders (CAN) and Ronnie Schildknecht (SUI) round out the top ten on the start list.
Among the 42 pro women on the start list, there are six British names: Jodie Swallow, Rachel Joyce, Leanda Cave, Lucy Gossage, Susie Cheetham and Corinne Abraham.
Jodie Swallow wins Challenge Dubai
Out of this six, Swallow is highest ranked in third position, thanks to a superb 2015 that’s included smashing the course record at the Ironman Africa Champs in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Joyce meanwhile finished one place higher than Swallow in Kona last year, where she grabbed third place.
Rachel Joyce on the run at Kona 2014 (image: Paul Phillips)
“I feel like things have come right this year at the right time,” Joyce tells 220. “Bring on Kona. I am hungry to get back there.”
Gossage and Cheetham have both enjoyed a string of good M-dot results this year, including wins at Ironman 70.3 Staffs and Ironman UK for Gossage, and 70.3 Dublin for Cheetham. They both shared the podium with Swallow in Port Elizabeth. Cave and Abraham are ranked 10th and 35th respectively.
No surprise that top-ranked female is 2014 winner Mirinda Carfrae (AUS), who’s had a quiet season so far, placing seventh at Ironman Melbourne and third at 70.3 Vineman. The Aussie rocket presents a huge threat off the bike though: “You can never have too many world titles,” she told 220 last year, after clawing back a 14min deficit at Kona last year to beat Brett Sutton’s protégeé Daniela Ryf (SUI).
Daniela Ryf wins Ironman Frankfurt
Ryf just won the 70.3 World Champs in Austria however, and presents a growing threat to the crown. She also won Challenge Dubai in hot temps last February. We’d be surprised if she didn’t reach the podium this year.
Rounding out the top-ten women are Caroline Steffen (SUI), Julia Gajer (GER), The USA’s ‘Honey Badger’ Mary Beth Ellis, Gina Crawford (NZL) and Meredith Kessler (USA).
Among the notable absences this year are Craig Alexander and Yvonne van Vlerken, who are taking a pass this year, while Linsey Corbin and Sonja Tajsich have or are dealing with injuries.
Full Kona start list.
Who do you think will win Kona 2015? Let us know in the comments below!