Australian athlete Melissa Hauschildt will make her long-distance debut at Ironman Australia next month, saying it will help her decide whether to race at the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii this October.
The two-time Ironman 70.3 world champion says that her main priority is still defending her Ironman 70.3 world title in Mont-Tremblant, Canada this June, adding that after her injury-hit 2012 season she does not want to rush her way to Hawaii.
“If I can get through this Ironman race it will at least give me the opportunity to make my own decision later in the year between the ITU Long Course World Champs or Ironman World Championship,” she said. “I want to validate early, just in case I choose to go down the Kona path this year.”
This year’s Ironman Australia will take place in Port Macquarie (New South Wales) on 4th May, and will involve a 3.8km swim, 180km bike and 42.2km run.
Hauschildt had a great 2013 season which included winning the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in the US state of Nevada, and the ITU Long Distance World Championships in France. As the reigning 70.3 world champ, she now needs to complete just one full-distance Ironman race to claim her automatic slot at Kona.
“This time of the year, I usually have a few extra weeks ‘to play with’ in my schedule before the US season really picks up later on. So, while I’ve got these few weeks up my sleeve, I thought this could be a good chance to tick it off and see what all the fuss is about. The timing has worked out well and it’s the closest Ironman to home.”
She admits however that she has no idea how her first Iron-distance race will pan out, having never run further than 30k. “I’m looking forward to pushing myself further than ever before and seeing what it feels like,” she said.
(Main image: Delly Carr/Ironman)