Triathlon's top athletes will be competing in Kona, HI this weekend at one of the toughest IRONMAN courses in the world for their chance to become the new world champion. Our eyes are on Brent McMahon, Liz Lyles, and Michelle Vesterby to take the podium.
Brent McMahon is a 2x Canadian Olympian and Pan Am Games medalist. He has was the IRONMAN 70.3 North American Champion twice, 6 IM 70.3 championships and the World Cup. IRONMAN themselves list Brent as one of their top contendors for the Kona podium this year, and Triathlete Magazine lists him as one of the top pro men to watch. Thorsten Radde of Triathlete Magazine says, "[he] continues to impress over the IRON distance: Outside of his ninth place (8:29) in Kona 2015, he has consistently finished sub-8 hours or very close to it." Radde notes that he was weakest in the run leg, which Brent will look to improve at this year's event. If you're still not convinced this guy has podium potential, he punctuated 2016 by setting not only a new course record at IM Florianopolis Brazil during the South American Championships, but also racing the 2nd fastest IRONMAN in history there (7:46:10). Think he's improved his run?
American pro Liz Lyles has caught the attention of the triathlon world in the past couple of years. So much so, that Triathlete Magazine put her on the cover of their pre-Kona issue in 2015, after she placed 7th at Kona in 2014. Lyles is a two-time defending champion of the Wildfower Long Course Triathlon, and has been the IRONMAN Wisconsin Champion twice, most recently on September 11th of this year. This has been Liz's busiest race season since 2013, and she has placed top 5 in 8 of her 9 races. Triathlete Magazine favors Liz to be a Kona Champion, as does Slowtwitch. To prove she's been having her strongest year yet, Lyles won IRONMAN Florianopolis, the South American Championship in Brazil, and, like Brent, set a new course record (8:54:10).
Exuberant Michelle Vesterby has won three IRONMANs, one 70.3, and four Challenge Triathlons, all while reminding us to "Keep Smiling!" This Dane has chosen to stay close to home this season, winning two European Challenge races, but Triathlete Magazine and Slowtwitch both still included her on their lists of pro women to watch at Kona - if not for her achievement and potential, then for her enthusiasm, smile, and new custom kit and bike made specifically for Kona!
We'll also be cheering on Maverick Multisport's pro triathlete Laurel Wassner and five of her age groupers teammates. Wassner has had a busy year placing in the top 10 in all 12 of her races. She placed 2nd this year at Wildflower Triathlon (after Liz Lyles) and second at Rev3 Triathlon Williamsburg, IM 70.3 Ecuador and IM Mont Tremblant. Laurel likes to race in our RS Tri Short and RS Tri Tank (Brent races in the men's version of this top and bottom.)
We also wish good luck to age grouper Steph Corker from our very own backyard of Vancouver, BC. Steph has had an outstanding year, first winning IM 70.3 Victoria, then winning one of the most challenging IRONMAN courses in Whistler, BC, and placing 2nd in her category at Challenge Penticton. We're proud to have worked closely with this local athlete on developing our RS Tri Speedsuit, also the suit of choice for Michelle Vesterby.