Ford Ironman World Championships 2008 – preview

October 9th, 2008 by

normann stadler chris mccormack ironman world championship 2007 rich cruse
Photo by Rich Cruse

Kona is all bustling and ready for action; the biggest triathlon of the year is nearly upon us, and there are 1800 Ironman athletes assembled on the volcanic Island to get the race underway on Saturday morning.

I have gradually, year by year got more ‘into’ the Ironman vibe – and this year especially, after racing in the States a few times. It’s just simply the biggest triathlon out there and one I now appreciate the size of. I think it’s almost a good thing I didn’t manage to get to the finish at Sherbourne last month – as if I had been offered a slot for Kona I think it would have been hard to turn down – simply because it’s Kona!

Anyway; anything can happen on the day, it’s the nature of the beast as they say, but I like to speculate as much as the next punter. Who’s gonna win? Who’s gonna come from ‘nowhere’ a la Chrissie Wellington last year, and what might go wrong, similar to Normann Stadler last year.

For the men: winner, i’m going with Chris ‘Macca’ McCormack, although i think Craig ‘Crowie’ Alexander will push him hard, just like last year. I’m excited to see how Andy Potts shakes it up – I can’t imagine him doing anything other than stretch the swim; it’s how he races, plus if Beji Sanson starts (he was 3rd at Brazil) there is a very formidable swim duo right there. I’d expect a couple minutes at least. But who knows; currents and the swell all factor in at Kona; plus it’s a non wetty swim.

If he doesn’t blow his doors wide open on the bike, Normann Stadler will be in the hunt, but I’m only saying top 5, along with Eneko Llanos – he’s been close to Macca twice this year, so again, I think he will be in the hunt. So that’s my top 5. No doubt be all wrong, so I won’t be looking to place any bets!

Other notables I wouldn’t be surprised to see mixing it up and finishing top 10 are American Chris Lieto, German Faris Al Sultan, Aussie Luke Bell and after a few poor years, and possibly his last ‘real’ hit out – Kiwi Cameron Brown.

For a wildcard shot, I’m going with Brit Paul ‘Amos’ Amey. He’s just won World Short Course Duathlon, so he is clearly in shape. Other than Macca and Crowie, he is actually one of the few guys there to have really hit the top tier of short course racing; so I wouldn’t be surprised to see him giving it some. Possibly top 5-8 shot, but probable off the radar shot. Good luck also to the other GB guys racing pro.

For the girls; winner – Chrissie Wellington. Failing a mechanical or other problem, it’s a no-brainer for me. I’d love to see Leanda Cave get up there in the mix. She made 8th last year, and it went largely unnoticed due to the amazing result from Chrissie. Bella Camerford could go top 10, I hope she does, it would cap a tremendous year for the Aberdonian.

Kate Major, Jo Lawn, Belinda Granger plus that girl who broke the World Record no doubt will be somewhere in the top 10. In case you hadn’t noticed, I’m not much clued up on the girls side of racing…