Two-time Olympic gold medalist Alistair Brownlee is set to make his debut over the half-iron distance this Saturday, April 22, at Challenge Mogan-Gran Canaria. The British triathlete has said he’ll be going after the Ironman 70.3 World Championship title in Chattanooga this September. He plans to try long-distance triathlon until the end of 2018, at which point he will decide whether to pursue a third Olympic gold medal or continue with the longer races.
While he has already competed in a somewhat long race like the Abu Dhabi International Triathlon where an Olympic-distance 1.5-kilometer swim and 10-kilometer run sandwiched a 100-kilometer bike ride, this will be Brownlee’s first time competing in a 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike and 13.1-mile run triathlon.
“I’m not expecting too much from myself or putting too much pressure on myself,” Brownlee said in a press release from his Bahrain Endurance 13 team. “It’s my first proper attempt at the distance so I’m not expecting everything to go perfectly. I want to do well and I’m competitive, but I haven’t really looked at the start list with too much knowledge of the other participants. I know what I want to do in terms of my own race and will judge the performance on that, not where I end up finishing or in comparison to anyone else.”
He has been preparing at home in Yorkshire, making slight changes to his training regimen to cope better with the long-course format. “I have been concentrating on individual, solo bike efforts and less intense and longer running so those have been the biggest changes to my training. I’ve been enjoying it,” he says. A bigger test at the distance will come on Saturday, May 5, when he’ll face off against a tough field at the Ironman 70.3 North American Championships in St. George, Utah.
Though Mogán is a fairly small fishing village in the Canary Islands, it will see some serious star power this weekend as two-time defending Ironman world champion Daniela Ryf is also on the start list.