Triathlon Magazine Canada - - TRANSITION -

IT’S BEEN A long time since Cana­dian Iron­man fans have had this much to look for­ward to in Oc­to­ber. The fact that we’ll have at least five men and women likely to line up in the pro field is rea­son enough to celebrate. That this group has the fire­power and abil­ity to fol­low in the able foot­steps of for­mer Cana­dian Iron­man cham­pi­ons Syl­viane Pun­tous, Heather Fuhr, Lori Bow­den and Peter Reid is cause for even more ex­cite­ment.

Heather Wurtele is the most se­nior of the crew, hav­ing al­ready racked up nu­mer­ous Iron­man and 70.3 ti­tles and has fin­ished in the top-10 in Kona be­fore. She knows what it takes to suc­ceed in Kona.

An­gela Naeth came a few points shy of qual­i­fy­ing for the world cham­pi­onship last year. In­stead of the Hawaii trip she headed down south to win Iron­man Chat­tanooga, then fol­lowed that up with an im­pres­sive race at the Iron­man North Amer­i­can Cham­pi­onship in The Woodlands, Texas. Naeth al­ways has the fire­power on the bike and has be­come a con­sis­tently strong run­ner, two in­gre­di­ents that are crit­i­cal if you’re go­ing to con­tend in Kona.

On the men’s side there’s lots of ex­cited talk about all three of the guys we’re likely to see on the start line. Lionel San­ders spent race week in Kona last year tak­ing it all in – he rode the course mul­ti­ple times and spent a lot of time run­ning in the in­tense heat, too. San­ders will strug­gle in the wa­ter and the rest of the field are likely to be wor­ried enough about him that they’ll make sure that he’ll have to work re­ally hard to get to the front on the bike. If he can get there, though, with­out hav­ing to leave a lung on the side of the road and bet­ter hy­drated than he was in Texas, San­ders will be im­pres­sive on the run.

Brent Mcma­hon turned more than a few heads last year when he turned in the fastest ever men’s de­but Iron­man race. He fol­lowed that up with another sub-8 third-place fin­ish in Brazil. The for­mer Olympian will swim well enough to come out of the wa­ter with the main group in Kona and en­joy the lux­ury of at least start­ing the ride where he needs to be. Add to that the speed he ac­quired from all those years of ITU rac­ing and he’ll be a man with po­ten­tial on the marathon course.

Fi­nally Jeff Symonds was sim­ply out­stand­ing over a tough field at the Iron­man Asia-pa­cific Cham­pi­onship in Mel­bourne last March. When he’s on, the Pen­tic­ton na­tive can com­pete with the best in all three dis­ci­plines, which is in­creas­ingly be­com­ing an im­por­tant at­tribute for the world’s best Iron­man ath­letes.

Brent Mcma­hon races the Iron­man 70.3 Cal­i­for­nia Ocean­side


Jeff Symonds rac­ing the 2014 Subaru Iron­man Canada in Whistler, B.C.

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