03 Oct Kona Athlete Preview
At last, we are on the countdown to the Hawaii Ironman… the World Championships in Kona on 13th October 2018. We have four athletes headed to race on the Big Island, some with previous experience and top 10 results; some competing for their first time. Here’s a look at these amazing athletes; how they got to the biggest race in our sport and what their goals are for the day.
Andrea “Hoppy” Hopkin
This will be Hoppy’s third time to Kona, and she comes with a 4th place and 8th place in her previous two visits. She qualified in Taiwan Ironman last year and was the first age grouper to finish. She has had a great prep, and if all goes to plan there is every chance she could be in the mix for the top 10 and receive a coveted Umeke (the Hawaiian timber bowl prize). But as she says, “It is Kona, and it’s an Ironman and sometimes things don’t go to plan which is when you just have to re-assess. The atmosphere there is like no other so if that happens then it’s all about soaking it up”.
Hoppy’s strengths on race day will be that she has been very consistent in training. She thrives in the hot and humid races and non-wetsuit swims. Her second best swim time was in Kona 2016, so with a big support crew of family and friends on the sideline, she will be a big threat on race day.
This first-time qualifier grabbed his Kona spot in the 25-29 age group at Ironman Australia, where he went to roll down just to get some inspiration for his next attempt at qualifying! As a first-timer on the Big Island, Mike’s goals are simple; he wants to execute a solid race plan and soak up everything the race has to offer. He wants to finish with a strong, consistent run, and hopefully while the sun is shining… which in Hawaii means going under about 10.5 hours as the sunset is pretty early!
With an even spread of talent across all disciplines, Mike’s strength is sticking to a plan and not getting caught up pushing beyond his ability. Coming off a big winter training load we think Mike is perfectly prepped for his big day!
Ryan (Frizee) Miller
2018 will be Ryan’s fourth year in a row racing on the Big Island. Last year he cracked the top 10 in the 35-39 age group with a smoking 9:12 time. Ryan qualified in Port Macquarie and says it is always special to get that Kona spot, as it seems to get harder and harder every year.
Ryan loves the heat and the challenges that Hawaii brings. He says, “It’s not about being in the best shape, it’s about getting to the start line in the strongest frame of mind, which can be very difficult after a long Ironman build up”.
Ryan’s prep this year has included some warm weather racing in the Philippines, and he’s no stranger to the hot, humid Kona conditions. We think he is a red-hot shot to go even better than his position from last year.
Qualifying for Kona was always goal for Sam, and so to claim his spot at Ironman WA in the 25-29 age group was mission accomplished! Sam is strong across all three disciplines without having one standout physical strength; more so it’s his mental strength on racing day that he prides himself on. Sam has taken motivation from other athletes that have also sucked it up in the cold and wet winter training conditions; remaining committed and consistent in the tough times. Sam found that keeping spirits high with banter and comradery has made all the difference, and as he says #teamworkmakesthedreamwork .
Sam appreciates the privilege that it is to race in Kona, and to do so in a fit and healthy manner. His goals are to race smart and to his known ability; if he exceeds these goals it’s a bonus. With a healthy appreciation of the challenges ahead, there’s a good chance Sam will smash his goals on race day!
To our #bindicrew, please know that we are all behind you 100%.
We couldn’t be prouder of your commitment and sacrifice to just get yourself on the start line – just to make it there you are already a winner.
Have a fabulous experience out there, it is like no other race, or day in your life!
And of course, keep #fuelledbybindi …you will see countless athletes falling apart that haven’t 😉