A win at the 2016 IRONMAN® World Championship this weekend would place Australian Mirinda Carfrae in an exclusive club, of which she is the only member.
A title would add to her legacy in Kona and bring her tally to four, one more than Australian triathlon legend Craig Alexander, making her the most decorated IRONMAN triathlete in Australian history.
After the disappointment of last year's DNF at her title defence, Carfrae was hit by a car during the days leading up to the 2015 world championship; the diminutive Aussie is hell-bent on redemption.
"My sole purpose in IRONMAN racing is to see how fast I can go and to improve year upon year. It's about getting everything I'm capable of from myself, and then working even harder and finding how to get something more," Carfrae said.
"I was ready to put those improvements to the test last year, and this year is no different. My preparation has gone very well, and I feel like I have everything I need in place to make it an incredible day. It's going to be a massive challenge, but I feel mentally ready. I'm ready, and I'm excited to dig that deep."
Until last year Carfrae had never finished off the podium at the world championship, claiming the 2011, 2013 titles and in 2014 chasing down a 14-minute deficit off the bike to catch and beat the 2015 champion Switzerland's Daniella Ryf.
"I intend to do everything in my power to try and regain the world title. But what's even more important to me is to put together a personal best performance. The kind of day where I know I've given everything. Hopefully, that will be enough for the title, but you never know," Carfrae said.
The three-time world champion will lead the Australian invasion of the Big Island with a total of 11 professionals on the start line.
After a disappointing finish in Hawaii last year Tim Van Berkel, the 2016 Cairns Airport IRONMAN Asia-Pacific Champion, will be focused on improving on his debut seventh in 2014.
"Having a full year with my coach, Dr Dan Plews, has given me more confidence in our approach this year. We have had the time to bond and plan out our structure for the year which I believe will have me in great condition come race day," Berkel said.
"Those races (2014 and 2015) are certainly important. However, they are in the past, and I'm only focusing on getting myself to the start line in the best form possible. Those races bring the right level preparedness, and it gives me the right mindset and belief that the program Dan has me on is the right one."
Compatriot and 2015 IRONMAN Western Australia champion Luke McKenzie, will be hoping to replicate the form that saw him record the fastest ever time on Australian soil in December 2015, a blistering 7:55:58 in Busselton.
Australian Mel Hauschildt, unbeaten over the IRONMAN distance, followed up her debut win at the 2014 IRONMAN Australia with the 2015 IRONMAN Asia-Pacific Championship Melbourne and the 2016 IRONMAN European Championship Frankfurt, will make her long-awaited debut on the Big Island of Hawaii.
"This year has been excellent, coming here the last two years with my name on the start list and not being able to start made me hungry to do well," she said.
Former ITU star Annabel Luxford is making her second trip to Hawaii after finishing 12th last year.
Aussies in Kona:
Timothy Van Berkel
Additional historical facts and stats on the field competing in this year's IRONMAN World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawai`i:
· This will be the largest athlete field ever at the IRONMAN World Championship, with over 2,300 competitors
· 70 percent of participants (1,683 athletes) are male
· 30 percent of participants (718 athletes) are female, which is up 2 percentage points from 2015 and also marks the largest female field in history at the IRONMAN World Championship.
· 43 is the average age of registrants this year
· 100 race participants (57 males, 43 females), or four percent of the total field, are professional athletes
· Hiromu Inada (Yachiyo, Chiba, Japan) is the oldest participant at 83, while Hiraya Shun (Asahi City, Chiba, Japan) is the youngest at 19
· Belarus is sending an athlete to the IRONMAN World Championship for the very first time.
· Eight athletes will be celebrating their birthday on race day
· All 50 U.S. states are accounted for, with the greatest number coming from California (153)
· Approximately 91,000 athletes register to compete in IRONMAN races each year, representing over 90 countries and territories
· Approximately 260,000 registered athletes representing over 155 countries and territories competed in IRONMAN and IRONMAN 70.3 races this year
· 826 competitors representing 390 different TriClubs from around the world are racing at this year's IRONMAN World Championship and total over 34.8 percent of the field
· 23 new IRONMAN and IRONMAN 70.3 races were established in 2016
· More than 5,000 volunteers will help make the IRONMAN World Championship a success
The 2016 IRONMAN World Championship can be viewed live starting at 2.25am Sunday Australian time on www.ironman.com. Comprehensive coverage will capture every aspect of the race and feature a hosted show, athlete tracker and live blog.