Every pro champion except one for the past four years will compete led by defending champions Luke McKenzie, and Liz Blatchford. McKenzie, who also won in 2013, and three-time winner Blatchford will be joined by David Dellow (2012 champion) and Cameron Brown (2014 champion).
“I am really excited to be returning as the IRONMAN Cairns defending champion and also as the event ambassador again. I often get asked what my favourite IRONMAN event is and without hesitation my answer is always IRONMAN Cairns,” McKenzie said.
Australian’s Tim Van Berkel and Brad Kahlefeldt, second and third at Asia-Pacific championship in Melbourne last year are also back.
Van Berkel, twice a runner-up at Cairns and second in the IRONMAN® African Championship in March, will be looking to go one better.
Also in the mix will be Jordan Rapp, a five-time IRONMAN winner, fellow American Matt Hanson, who won the IRONMAN North American Championship last year in Texas, the 2012 IRONMAN World Champion Pete Jacobs, who will continue in his bid to return to the top echelon of the sport after a few lean years and fellow Australian Luke Bell.
In the women’s race, Blatchford will face stiff competition in her bid for a fourth straight Cairns title in the shape of 2015 IRONMAN African champion Jodie Swallow (GBR), and five-time IRONMAN champion American Linsey Corbin.
“Having Cairns as the Asia-Pacific Championship gives it that next level of exposure and it will no doubt attract an even stronger field than it has in the past. I’ve never actually raced an IRONMAN Asia-Pacific Championship so that is a feather I would love to have in my cap,” Blatchford said.
Injury kept Corbin on the sidelines for much of the last season, which makes her bid to get back to October’s IRONMAN World Championship, in Kailua-Kona Hawaii, much tougher. Starting the season with zero qualifying point’s means she needs a strong showing in Cairns, with regional championship winners virtually guaranteed a trip back to the ‘Big Island’.
“I am using IRONMAN Cairns to hopefully get my final qualification points. I have taken a different approach to racing and training this year and am focusing on one race at a time. As of now IRONMAN Cairns is my one focus,” Corbin said.
New Zealand’s Michelle Bremer, fresh of a second place at IRONMAN Australia earlier this month will back up in Cairns. Last year she followed up her win at IRONMAN Australia with a third in Cairns, and will also be a factor.
The Cairns Airport Adventure Festival is supported by the Queensland Government through Tourism and Events Queensland (TEQ) as part of the It’s Live! in Queensland major events calendar.
Over 7000 athletes will take part in the Cairns Airport Adventure Festival from June 5-June 13, with both the IRONMAN 70.3 Cairns and Cairns Airport Asia-Pacific Championship IRONMAN Cairns on June 12 sell outs, with 3500 entries across both events.