Bart Aernouts from Belgium finished 11th last year in Kona with an amazing 2:47:10 marathon. As a former top duathlete, Aernouts has had to learn to become a swimmer and has spent the last few years paying his dues. When you look at his one hour swim and 4:45 bike ride from last year’s Ironman, the fact that he finished 11th is unbelievable. But when you look at his splits from his second place finish at Ironman France this summer: 51:32 for the swim, 4:38:29 for the ride and 2:37:01 for the run, he obviously has improved a ton in the last 12 months. He is 29 years old and, if he can hook up with the second swim pack in Kona and cut five minutes or so off of last year’s swim time, watch out!
Germany’s Sebastian Kienle is coming off his second Ironman 70.3 World Championship title in a row. After a fourth place in his first Kona attempt last year, is he ready to win the big one this time around?
Frederik Van Lierde is coached by two-time Ironman World Champion Luc Van Lierde. After taking third last year in Kona, and shattering his own course record for his third straight win at Ironman France this summer, Frederik seems poised and ready to move up two spots on October 12th.
Luc Van Lierde is one of my all-time favorite athletes. Who else runs his first marathon ever during the 1996 Ironman World Championship, goes 2:41:48 and not only wins the Ironman in his first ever attempt at it, but sets a course record (8:04:08) that would stand for the next 15 years.
Okay, so how committed is two-time Ironman World Champion Chris McCormack to winning his third title in Kona on October 12th? After traveling the globe over the past month racing everywhere from the Philippines to Austin to Malibu to Canada, you’d think not very. But that’s exactly the way the man they call Macca likes it.
Billy Kenoi is the Mayor of Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. He watched the Ironman for the first time four years ago and was immediately hooked. In the past year he has lost 30 pounds and completed both an Olympic distance event and a 70.3 race. He came on to chat about the impact of the Ironman World Championship on his island and how much he is loving his new lifestyle.