Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Age-groupers to watch and follow in Kona, Ironman World Championships

Craig Alexander. Chris Lieto. Andreas Raelert. Chrissie Wellington. Mirinda Carfrae. Julie Dibens. I could go on--Faris Al-Sultan. And on--Caroline Steffen. And on--Linsey Corbin. Sure, we can all name a laundry list of professional triathletes who are racing at this year's Ironman World Championship, the big hoo-rah in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, but what about the age groupers, Ironman Foundation athletes and lottery winners in the mix?

From age-group speedsters to friends and acquaintances who are racing on October 8 at the Big Dance, here's who I'll be following from my perch in middle America.

  • Sarah Piampiano. She won her age group at Ironman Coeur d'Alene but what was more impressive is that she finished fourth overall, first amateur female.
  • Natalie Jackson. This former Chicago resident now lives in northern California--and used to attend the same spinning classes as me-- used to live in Chicago qualified at CDA
  • Chris Meewes. Qualifying at Lake Placid was almost a piece of cake for this Chicagoan--until a flat near the end of the bike, he was the first amateur and had a blistering bike split.
  • Tom Goth. He won't remember this but we were paired to run around the track and match our cadences while working with Bobby McGee at a 2010 Endurance Corner camp. The funny part--my cadence was apparently on target, yet I'm far slower.
  • Barry Breffle. He made qualifying at Ironman Wisconsin look easy...I watched him cruise right by me on the run and so focused that he missed me cheering.
  • Julie Shelley. This former Chicagoan relocated to Hong Kong and has since made Kona an annual tradition (or close to it). 
  • Sonja Wieck. I love reading her blog--it makes me wish for speed.
  • Drew Scott. He’s the legendary Dave Scott’s son. I wonder if triathlon runs through his blood too, it must if he's already made it to Kona at 20 years old.
  • Sara Fix. She's married to the founder of Naperville's Endure It! Sports, David Fix.
  • Marc Robertson. This Well-Fit elite team member qualified at Ironman Louisville. 
  • Amber Kardosh. She qualified for Kona at last year's Ironman Wisconsin but has since been faced with repeated issues on the run. I'm a silent cheerleader, hoping that Kardosh doesn't have to do as predicted: walk the marathon.
  • Bobbe Greenberg. This Highland Park, Ill., resident is 65!
  • Bob Scott. This Naperville octogenarian will be one of the oldest finishers. Think Lew Hollander but not mentioned as much.
  • Mary Beth Ellis. Go U Northwestern! My alma mater is represented by this pro who's having a stellar year at the longer distance.
  • Tara Costa. Need I say more about this former Biggest Loser contestant? If any BL would compete in Ironman and excel, it would be Costa and I can only assume that she won't disappoint.
  • Laura Sophiea. Now I know where her kids got their swimming skills (I swam against one of them in high school--or rather, got beaten by). She's setting age group records in this sport and made a sub-11 race look easy for a 55-year-old last year.
  • Claire Geiger. Gotta love a local: Geiger is from Evanston, qualified at Ironman Wisconsin and then won her age group again at Ironman Texas earlier in the year.
  • Ironman couple: Matthew and Adrienne Amman
  • Christine Anderson. She's formerly from Chicago and practically every time I'm browsing race results, her name is at the top.
  • Adam Zucco. Zucco had a tough start to the year thanks to the untimely death of Sally Meyerhoff (one of his athletes), but it must have fueled his fire to qualify at Ironman 70.3 California.
  • Elizabeth Waterstraat. Give birth, qualify for Ironman? Waterstraat had a baby (son Max) last July and less than a year later she was winning her age group at Eagleman to go hula on the Big Island.
  • Ironman couple 2: James and Beth Walsh
  • Haley Chura. So. Fast. At. Swimming.
  • Leslie Dimichele. I'm pretty sure that Geiger and her share the same Evanston-based coach. Hmm, what's their magic potion?
  • And for no particular reason aside from being fast at Ironman Wisconsin: Thomas Brunold, Lauren Birkel and Kristin Korevec.
  • And two who raced a World Championship, 70.3 though, last month: Beth Shutt, Jess Smith and Hailey Manning.
Who will you be tracking at the Ironman World Championship?

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