Just when you think you're tough enough


IRONMAN South American Championship heats up Brazil

Ironman South American Championship Brazil
Competition is heating up at IRONMAN South American Championship, Brazil. (Ironman.com)

The IRONMAN South American Championship is heating up in Brazil this weekend with a tight race across the board with two talented fields racing for automatic Ironman Kona spots and a piece of the $150,000 prize purse.

Women’s defending champ returns 

Last year’s racing was dramatic, with the women’s race having many lead changes up until the very end with an “upset” from Ariane Monticelli (BRA), running a 2:56 marathon to take the win. Monticelli will be back this year looking for a repeat win (and another ticket to Kona), but she’ll have to best second-place finisher, Liz Lyles (USA) again to do so.

The favourites will likely have quite a lead after the swim with Laurel Wassner (USA), and Lucie Zelenkova (CZE), being out of the water with a significant lead. These two will push the pace throughout the early parts of the ride, but will likely find some company during the bike leg.

Lyles knows she’s going to have some very talented runners starting the run behind her and she’ll probably push the pace near the end of that ride to get a bit of a buffer on the chasers.

Expect a tight finish on the men’s side 

The men’s race was almost as close as the women’s last year with third place going to Brent McMahon (CAN), finishing just three minutes off of the winner Marino Vanhoenaker (BEL), and one minute behind Tim O’Donell (USA). McMahon is back this year and is looking to move a few spots, but he’s going to have some stiff competition in his way.

Tim Don (GBR) is the co-favuorite coming into this event while Don and McMahon have similar strengths, and it is quite likely we will see them within a few seconds of each other up until the late stages of the run.

Other athletes who will throw a wrench in the plans of the two above are Paul Matthews (AUS), Kevin Collington (USA), Will Clarke (GBR), Daniel Fontana (ITA), and Ronnie Schildknecht (CHE).

This race reads like an ITU reunion invitation list, and most of the race will likely see a large group of past short course athletes, swim, bike, and for at least the beginning of the run. Collington showed just a few weeks ago that his prep is on point with a super strong fourth place finish in St. George, and he will be looking to surprise the field in his second attempt at the distance.

Read more on  Ironman.com