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Beginning with this weekend’s IRONMAN Asia-Pacific Championship in Melbourne, IRONMAN will be kicking off its 2015 regional championship series. The series will also include IRONMAN Regional Championships in North America (The Woodlands, Texas), Latin America (Florianopolis, Brazil), Europe (Frankfurt, Germany) and Africa (Port Elizabeth, South Africa).

“We are proud of the advancements made in creating a true ‘Road to Kona,’” said Andrew Messick, Chief Executive Officer for IRONMAN. “The added technology components, live show and strong pro fields will further grow the sport and provide for an exciting season throughout the regions.”

Headlining the IRONMAN Asia-Pacific Championship is current IRONMAN World Champion Mirinda Carfrae. Already proven to be one of the top female IRONMAN triathletes to ever compete, Carfrae has been crowned IRONMAN World Champion three-times (2010, 2013, 2014) to go with a third-place finish in 2012 and two second-place finishes in 2009 and 2011 at the IRONMAN World Championship.

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An automatic bid to the 2015 IRONMAN World Championship will be on the line as all professional winners of each IRONMAN Regional Championship race will receive automatic qualification to the IRONMAN World Championship held in Kailua-Kona, Hawai’i on October 10. Each IRONMAN Regional Championship will also offer a $150,000 prize purse to male and female professionals which will be distributed amongst the first through tenth place finishers.

Also new for the 2015 IRONMAN Regional Championship series, IRONMAN will produce IRONMAN Live, a hosted online show with extensive, in-depth coverage of the professional race. The coverage will include live GPS tracking for all professional athletes. In addition, professional athletes will be given the opportunity to opt-in to transmit biometric and power data to further enhance the live production.

2015 IRONMAN Regional Championships in 2015:

  • IRONMAN Asia-Pacific Championship – Melbourne; March 22, 2015
  • Memorial Hermann IRONMAN North American Championship – Texas; May 16, 2015
  • IRONMAN Latin American Championship – Brazil; May 31, 2015
  • IRONMAN European Championship – Frankfurt; July 5, 2015
  • Standard Bank IRONMAN African Championship – South Africa; March 29, 2015
The pro panel (from left) Caroline Steffen, Mirinda Carfrae, Melissa Hauschildt, Nik Frommhold, Tim Berkel and Luke Bell. Photo from Ironman website

The pro panel (from left) Caroline Steffen, Mirinda Carfrae, Melissa Hauschildt, Nik Frommhold, Tim Berkel and Luke Bell. Photo from Ironman website

What the leading Women Elites say

Some excerpts from the women’s pro panel at the press conference today:
Defending champion Caroline Steffen

Of course I am ready. I love the Melbourne race. There’s always a great field here. I really look forward to that. There’s no secret. I am a swim-biker and some of the other girls beside me are more the runners. I will try to get a lead as much as possible off the bike. It looks like it will be a choppy hard swim which is perfect for me.

The run is a point to point so we won’t see each other. I hope I get some splits – well I hope the one in front gets some splits – I know the girls behind get splits but if I am in front I hope I get some as well. It is so stressful out in front.

Three-time IRONMAN World champion Mirinda Carfrae

It’s really great to be back. I had a chance to train in the Sunny Coast and come here to race in Melbourne again. Every time I look back on my Kona resume I have to pinch myself because it couldn’t have gone any better. But this girl on my right (Steffen) has been top five in every one of those races.
I want to reiterate how strong the women’s field is here this weekend.

For the full 2015 professional schedule please visit Ironman’s website.