Patrick Lange wins Ironman World Championship 2017 win a new course record. (Ironman.com)

Will defending champions, Germany’s Patrick Lange and Switzerland’s Daniela Ryf retain the title? Will Tim Don make an incredible comeback after a near fatal crash?

In a showcase of pure grit and determination, Triathlon’s top professional talent will compete at the 2018 IRONMAN World Championship brought to you by Amazon this Saturday, Oct 13th in Kailua-Kona, Hawai’i. Defending champions Patrick Lange (DEU) and Daniela Ryf (CHE) will spearhead the most iconic one-day endurance event in the world among a highly competitive professional field.

“This is a monumental year for IRONMAN as we celebrate four decades of racing at the IRONMAN World Championship in Hawai’i,” said Andrew Messick, President & Chief Executive Officer of IRONMAN.

“We look forward not only to honouring the historic professional performances from years past, but also showcasing the ever-growing international triathlete talent that will be on full display.”

Daniela Ryf wins her third consecutive Ironman World Championship title. (Ironman.com)

The women’s professional field will seek to dethrone three-time IRONMAN World Champion Daniela Ryf (CHE).

In addition to earning her fourth IRONMAN 70.3 World Champion title this past September in South Africa, Ryf also came away with victories at the Mainova IRONMAN European Championship in Frankfurt and Enea IRONMAN 70.3 Gdynia in Poland.

Up for the challenge will be a host of strong contenders, including last year’s other podium finishers Lucy Charles (GBR) and Sarah Crowley (AUS), as well as the highly anticipated return of three-time IRONMAN World Champion, Mirinda Carfrae (AUS).

Carfrae rejoins the ranks of the elite in Kona after spending a year away for the birth of her daughter. With wins this year at IRONMAN 70.3 Santa Rosa and IRONMAN 70.3 Augusta combined with a strong second-place showing at the 2018 Cairns Airport IRONMAN Asia-Pacific Championship in Cairns, Carfrae has been at full force on her comeback trail.

Iron ladies Daniela Ryf, Mirinda Carfrae and Heather Jackson complete the podium in 2017. (Ironman.com)

The men’s group is equally stacked with titleholders and contenders, including last year’s IRONMAN World Champion, Patrick Lange (DEU). Lange will seek his second win in Kona, where he holds a course-best time of 8:01:40 from his win in 2017, as well as the marathon run-course best time of 2:39:45, set in 2016 when he finished third.

Also competing for the title is Lionel Sanders (CAN), who led the race last year through mile 23 of the marathon before giving way to Lange and ultimately earning second. Sebastian Kienle (DEU), the 2014 IRONMAN World Champion, placed fourth in the 2017 IRONMAN World Championship and will be looking for another title after just missing the podium last year.

Adding to the competition will be Javier Gomez Noya (ESP), an Olympic silver medalist and two-time IRONMAN 70.3 World Champion and Tim Don (GBR), who was unable to race last year after a pre-race accident left him with a broken neck just days before the event.

After a gruelling road to recovery, Don has made a remarkable comeback, placing first at the 2018 IRONMAN 70.3 Costa Rica triathlon, only 8 months after the accident.

World record IRONMAN holder Tim Don was hit by a car while training before the 2017 IRONMAN World Championships this weekend. (Instagram/TimDon)

The 2018 IRONMAN World Championship will offer a $650,000 total professional prize purse which will be distributed to male and female first- through tenth-place finishers.

In addition to the competitive professional field, approximately 2,500 age-group athletes are registered to compete in this year’s IRONMAN World Championship brought to you by Amazon. This year the event will host the largest international athlete field in race history, representing 82 countries, regions and territories, from six continents. Athletes ranging in age from 19 to 85 have earned their championship opportunity by having finished among the best at one of more than 40 qualifying IRONMAN events worldwide.

Race week coverage of the 2018 IRONMAN World Championship brought to you by Amazon will be available on www.ironman.com and www.facebook.com/IRONMANnow. Comprehensive coverage will capture the week’s activities including every aspect of the race. For live tracking, real-time results and instant notifications, fans can follow both the professional and age-group athletes on the IRONMAN Tracker app available for download from Google Play and the iTunes App Store.

Read more on Ironman.com