In a year that sees Toyota IRONMAN Australia turn 30 the men’s champion looks set to cause a severe case of deja vu.
Three past champions of the event will be battling it out in a bid to become a dual winner of the fourth oldest IRONMAN event in the world.
Australia’s Pete Jacobs (2011) will take on compatriots Paul Ambrose (2012) and Luke Bell (2013) who will battle it out over the challenging Port Macquarie course.
The women’s race looks set to be a trans-Tasman battle with 2012 champion Michelle Gailey (AUS), and last year’s runner-up fellow Aussie Lisa Marangon taking on Kiwi’s Melanie Burke, fresh of a third place at this year’s IRONMAN New Zealand, and 2011 IRONMAN Western Australia champion Michelle Bremer.
Jacobs has fond memories of IRONMAN Australia, racing his first IRONMAN as an age grouper there, and then claiming the 2011 title before going onto win the IRONMAN World Championship in Hawaii the following year.
“Winning here meant one of my biggest dreams came true, racing in Forster as an age grouper in my first IRONMAN created that dream, along with the dream of winning Hawaii,” he said.
“My roots are deep in IRONMAN Australia, and I’m very happy and humbled to be part of the 30th year, not just as a competitor, but also as a small part of its history.”
For Bell, IRONMAN Australia is where he made his debut as a professional, and it’s where he claimed his first title some ten years later.
“To be able to win IRONMAN Australia is something that I am very proud of. To win the event in your home country where my own IRONMAN journey started is something that is extremely hard to put into words,” he said.
Jacobs, Bell and Ambrose will be challenged by fellow Australian Peter Robertson (3rd 2014 IRONMAN Cairns), and Czechoslovakian IRONMAN veteran Petr Vabrousek.
In the women’s race Gailey is focused on adding the 30th anniversary IRONMAN Australia title to her 2012 win.
“It's really exciting to be lining up in the 30th edition of Ironman Australia. When I first started triathlon in 2007 this was an event I had my eye on with so many high level professionals kicking off their careers at IRONMAN Australia,” she said.
“I have now completed nine IRONMANS and this will be my 10th. Port Macquarie is one of my favourite courses to race, it is tough, honest and the atmosphere is amazing.”
Her biggest threat seems to be Lisa Marangon, who from the moment she made her debut at IRONMAN Australia in 2003 has dreamt of claiming the title.
“I remember seeing Lisa Bentley win that year and I said I want to be her one day,” she said.
Marangon has enjoyed a solid preparation and is looking forward to testing herself on race day.
“I just need to execute the race plan my coach sets me. Deal with anything that is not expected and to race to my ability and beyond,” she said.
Text courtesy: Ironman Asia-Pacific
Images Courtesy: Ironman Asia Pacific, Paul-Ambrose.com, Facebook, NashyPix