Triathlete senior editor Aaron Hersh provides a list of 101 facts you should know before watching the 2013 Ironman World Championship on Saturday, Oct. 12.
1. The top 10 finishers in 2012 went like this: Pete Jacobs, Andreas Raelert, Frederik Van Lierde, Sebastian Kienle, Faris Al-Sultan, Timo Bracht, Andy Potts, Tim O’Donnell, David Dellow and Dirk Bockel. And for the women: Leanda Cave, Caroline Steffen, Mirinda Carfrae, Sonja Tajsich, Mary Beth Ellis, Natascha Badmann, Gina Crawford, Linsey Corbin, Caitlin Snow and Amy Marsh.
2. The men’s course record is 8:03:56, held by Craig Alexander.
3. Alexander was the oldest winner in the race’s history when he set the record two years ago at the age of 38.
4. Chrissie Wellington holds the women’s record of 8:54:02.
5. Mirinda Carfrae has the fastest PR in the 2012 women’s field with her 8:57:57 finish from 2011.
6. The fastest run since 1989 was submitted by Pete Jacobs in 2011, completing the 26.2 miles in 2:42:29.
7. In the 2011 marathon, Jacobs averaged 6:10 miles.
8. Wetsuits are illegal in the swim, giving stronger swimmers an advantage over slower ones.
9. While racers cannot wear neoprene, legal textile suits designed specifically for swimming, referred to as swimskins, have been found to make swimmers faster by compressing the body and reducing surface friction with the water.
10. In 2012, Andreas Raelert lost nearly four minutes in the swim to the lead pack and still finished second.
11. The historical high air temperature in Kona on Oct. 12, the date of the 2013 race, is 92 degrees.
12. The average high temp in Kona on race day is just 84 degrees.
13. Black asphalt and lava rock absorb heat from the sun and radiate it back upward, effectively elevating temperature well beyond the measured air temperature. Triathlete staff recorded a temperature of 109 degrees at the blacktop on a day in July 2010 with a reported high in the mid-80s.
14. Mary Beth Ellis broke her collarbone in a bike crash on Sept. 9. She had surgery to repair the bone, which included removing it from her trapezius muscle, on Sept. 12.
15. Her surgeon Dr. Peter Millett of the Steadman Hawkins Clinic said typical recovery time from an injury like the one Ellis sustained is four to five months. She plans to start the race.
16. Ellis started swimming with both arms and riding outdoors less than two weeks before the race. Prior to that, she had been cycling on the trainer and swimming with one arm to maintain fitness in those two disciplines.
17. Boulder, Colo., the home base for many of the top Kona contenders, flooded on Sept. 9, forcing several athletes including Craig Alexander and Leanda Cave to leave their high-altitude training grounds earlier than originally planned.
18. Carfrae won five of the six half-iron-distance races she started in 2010, then won the Ironman world title. This year, Carfrae has won just one of the four 70.3-distance events she started.
19. Carfrae was coached by Siri Lindley when she won the world title in 2010 and again when she finished second and broke the run record in 2011.
20. The pair of Carfrae and Lindley split for the 2012 season, and Carfrae finished third in Kona, 23 minutes slower than the year before.
21. Lindley is once again coaching the Australian former champion. She is also the coach of defending Ironman world champ Leanda Cave.
22. Cave has struggled this season and has yet to win a major race in 2013.
23. She won the Ironman 70.3 world title in 2012 before taking the Ironman crown, but finished 13th in Vegas this year.
24. Canadian Heather Wurtele was the top finisher at the Ironman 70.3 World Championship who will be racing in Kona. She finished 10th.
25. Wurtele is an outstanding swim-biker, but was regarded as a relatively poor runner as recently as last year. She dramatically improved her run over last winter and ran a 1:19 half-marathon split at Ironman 70.3 California earlier this year.