Wednesday, October 10, 2012

IM World Champ Preview: The Women

Now in Kona, but here’s what I put together yesterday! You’ll hear more from me soon!

II’m sitting on the plane right now geeking out on the week of Ironman ahead, so what better time than to write my Kona preview?! Before I get to that, just a quick note to keep up with my shennanigans over at, and on our facebook page, key word endurance planet. 

So as with Vegas Worlds, I wrote the Official  Ironman World Championships Men and Women's Preview that everyone will get in their Ironman Program over at the race. And, again, I’m left with a ton of stats and notes on the top pros that I want to share in my own race preview.... This time I'm giving you 10 out of the 12 who I featured...

Kona: The Women

Mirinda "Rinny" Carfrae

Rinny changed coaches this year, leaving Siri Lindley and working with Matt XXX. ALthough, she said she’s actually doing more self-coaching and has been mostly working with Matt on bike training. Her year has been a bit lackluster in terms of results, but I think she’s the type of athlete who can pull it together when it matters — i.e. Kona. But she’ll have tough competition, especially in Caroline Steffan, who’s already beat her in an Ironman this year, as did Rachel Joyce (Melbourne).

2012 Results:
3rd Ironman Melbourne 9:04, behind Steffen and Joyce
3rd NOLA 70.3
9th St Anthony’s
1st Rev3 Quassy
DNF Eagelman 70.3
1st Lake Stevens 70.3, fastest run
DNF Vegas 70.3 Worlds, nutrition issue

Kona Results:
2011- 2nd with faster run than CW just by about 40 seconds, with a 2:52:09.
2010- 1st, 2:53:32 run
2009- 2nd in her Ironman debut; fastest run

Caroline Steffan

At IM Melbourne she shattered the course with a 8:34:51, getting close close to Chrissie Wellington’s WTC Ironman record from 2011 South Africa. And she set the fastest bike ever of 4:35:29. She’s probably having her best year ever and is definitely one of my picks for the podium. Maybe it’s her new coach, Brett Sutton.

2012 Results:
3rd Abu Dhabi
1st Ironman Melbourne 
5th May Ironman 70.3 Austria
1st July Frankfurter Sparkasse IM Euro Championships
1st ITU LD World Championships

Kona Results:
2011- 5th

Leanda Cave

Leanda had a rocky beginning to 2012. A win followed by a couple DNS' due to injury – she tweaked back in a t-run that had her down for several weeks. By Vineman she hadn’t trained well in a month due to that injury so still a great showing all things considered. She showed us she was back to good form, if not better, when she won Vegas Worlds. She’s on my list for the podium, too.

2012 Results:
4th 70.3 South America Champs in Panama 
4th Wildflower 4:36:24 May
2nd Colombia 5150 May
1st Escape from Alcatraz
DNS Syracruse 
DNS Muncie 
5th Vineman 
3rd Boulder 
15th HyVee 
1st Vegas 70.3 Worlds

Kona Results:
2011- 3rd
2010- 10th
2009- 21st
2008- DNF

Linsey Corbin

I think LInsey is ready for another big year in Kona. At Honu 70.3 she set a course record in 4:26:09, on what’s said to be some of the toughest conditions that course has seen. And then at Austria she went 9:09:58, edging out Erica Csomor. To me, she epitomizes someone who has a great mental game, and is willing to work hard to achieve great things. Sounds like she had some bad luck at Vegas with a bike mechanical, so I’m sure she’s even more hungry for a good Kona.

2012 Results:
2nd Puerto Rico 70.3
5th Oceanside 70.3
2nd Wildflower
1st Hawaii 70.3 
5th Boise
1st Ironman Austria 

Kona Results:
2008- 5th (first American)

Mary Beth Ellis

Not too many people can, or would want to, do what Ellis has done: She’s won 5 of 6 Ironmans she’s done all since her IM debut in 2011, breaking records along the way for rookie, race course, American record. She’s also coached by Brett Sutton. Hm. 

2012 Results:
1st Ironman Texas 
1st Alpe d’Huez Triathlon
1st Ironman NYC 

Kona Results:

Kelly Williamson

Although she’s raced a lot this year, she hasn’t done an Ironman since IMAZ in late 2011. Her secret weapon will be her run, and with a couple years of Kona experience, I expect her to have things figured out more for her best race to date. 

2012 Results:
2nd 70.3 South America Champs 
1st Puerto Rico 70.3
1st Texas 70.3 US Championships
5th St. Anthony’s 5150 
1st Rev3 Knoxville Olympic
6th Rev3 Quassy Half
1st Muncie 
6th Hyvee 2:04:26, posting the fastest female run of the day with a 36:14.
2nd Vegas 70.3 Worlds

Kona Results:

Rachel Joyce

She beat Rinny at Ironman Melbourne this year, and while that was no Kona, Joyce is showing steady improvement at the long stuff. She’s been on the verge of a Kona podium, and has what it takes. She finished Roth in 8:45:04, making her the ETU European Long Distance Champion.

2012 Results:
2nd IM Melbourne
1st IM 70.3 Kansas
1st Challenge Roth

Kona Results:
2011- 4th

Heather Wuertele

Won her first Ironman in 2010, and she knows how to race these things well when conditions are at their toughest. She went on to win two IMs in 2011--St. George and Lake Placid. She was on track for another W this year until that fiasco at CdA. Read her blog if you don’t know the story. Trying to do a make-up Ironman right after has its positives and negatives. I’m sure she’s hungry for a great Kona run, but hpoefully she’s rested up enough — mentally and physically.

2012 Results:
2nd Rev3 Quassy
2nd Ironman 70.3 New Orleans
8th Ironman 70.3 Texas, US Pro Championships
DQ Ironman CdA - mechanical issue
8th July Frankfurter Sparkasse IM Euro Championships (2 weeks post mile 21 run DQ)
1st Timberman 70.3
Vegas 70.3 Worlds

Kona Results:

Meredith Kessler

I think MBK tried to be strong and downplay the broken vertebrae she suffered in a bike accident, but it clearly took its toll as we saw in Vegas. But she’s a trooper and another athlete I consider to have one of the best mental games. No one has results like she’s had this year if they don’t know how to suffer. It’s been her best year ever, and as long as she didn’t do too much, I’m sure she wants to end it on a high note (and being that Dixon is her coach, I’m sure they have it under control so she races well in Kona). Not to mention, I think she’s been one of those who’s been patient about really racing Kona to be at the top, and I think she’s now ready to unleash.

2012 Results:
1st IM NZ shortened to a 70.3 due to weather 
3rd Oceanside
1st Ironman St George (15 OA)
1st Eagelman 70.3
1st Ironman CdA
2nd Rev3 Portland
1st Vineman 70.3
Vegas 70.3 Worlds

Kona Results:
2008- 17th

Caitlin Snow

Caitlin has two top 10s in Kona so far, and she's one of the few that can master a sub-3:00 run. In 2010 she ran 2:56:04 run, last year she ran a 2:53 I think. I don’t think she’s given enough credit in the media as being one of the big players — she always races well and consistently. I plan on doing a podcast with her after Kona, and I’m excited to find out more about her!

2012 Results:
4th Texas 70.3
5th NOLA 70.3
2nd Ironman Texas
1st Rhode Island 70.3 RI
2nd Timberman 70.3

Kona Results:
2011- 9th
2010- 8th 
2009- 15th


  1. I think last year was Kelly's first year at Kona. She also ran 34:xx at Hyvee, which beat a lot of the top men. Great write up!

  2. i loved living vicariously through you this past weekend! gahh.