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Some of the world’s best triathletes will be returning to racing this Friday for the highly anticipated and hotly contested Challenge Miami race. And after much speculation about whether three-time Ironman world champion Jan Frodeno would actually be able to race after a travel hiccup led to him being denied access to his flight to Florida a few days ago, he confirmed on his Instagram account last night that he’d made it into the States and he will be racing. As the clear favorite in the men’s race, all eyes will be on the classy German, but the likes of Lionel Sanders, Ben Hoffman, Tim O’Donnell, and Matt Hanson are just a handful of the pro men who’ll be hoping to cause an upset.
The women’s race features an equally stellar line-up with Lucy Charles-Barclay, Paula Findlay, Meredith Kessler, and Heather Jackson all confirmed to be racing. Anne Haug was forced to withdraw due to a positive COVID test.
As with Challenge Daytona in December, this race will also take place on a NASCAR track, the Homestead-Miami Speedway.
The women’s pro race is scheduled to start at 1 p.m. ET with the men’s following at 3:15 p.m. ET, and much of the racing action will be centered around the 650-acre speedway venue, which has two lakes, a 1.5-mile oval track, and a 2.2-mile road around it. The pros will be racing a unique distance: a one-mile swim, a 39-mile bike, and a 10.5-mile run. Similarly to Challenge Daytona, this race course will suit those athletes who can hold fast, flat power on the bike as they race a total of 17 laps on the track. The run course involves seven laps.
Challenge Miami race organizers had obtained travel exemptions from the Department of Homeland Security for international athletes to circumvent the restrictions placed on travel to the U.S. from origins including the European Schengen area. The timeline for Frodeno to get his exemption sorted and travel to Florida from his home in Girona, Spain, in order to race this Friday had looked extremely tight, but Frodeno and his team clearly made it happen.
For those wanting to catch all the pro racing action live, you can tune into Challenge Miami’s Facebook page. It will cost $2.99 to watch the pro race. A highlights show of the pro race will also be broadcast on NBCSN on March 18 at 2 p.m. ET, March 21 at noon ET, and March 22 at 2:30 p.m. ET. The age-group races—which take place on Saturday and Sunday—will also be livestreamed on Facebook (for no cost).
Bill Christy, CEO of Challenge North America, said: “We have the top athletes in the world competing, including the men’s world number one Jan Frodeno, the women’s number two in the world, Lucy Charles-Barclay, and 16 more athletes from the top 20 in the world.
“This race will be something you’ve never seen before. The competition is bringing the exhilarating speed and intense athleticism of triathlon right to your living room! We think it may be an even more action-packed race than seen at Challenge Daytona as the bike course utilizes the road course and the run course uses the oval.”
Pro athletes will be competing for a $50,000 prize purse that pays 10 deep with $6,600 up for grabs for the winner, $4,550 for second place, and $3,225 for third.
While all eyes will be on the superstars like Frodeno and Charles-Barclay—and Hanson and Findlay will be marked athletes after their respective Daytona performances—it’s always fun to select some dark horses, too, and among the Triathlete team’s “ones to watch” list are: Fenella Langridge, Skye Moench, Rudy von Berg, Chris Leiferman, and Pablo Dapena.
Over the weekend there will also be a Pro-am sprint race, a relay, a sprint distance tri, a middle distance duathlon, a 5K run/walk, and a kids’ race.
Want to know how the race went? Here’s our analyst’s breakdown after the event.