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Triathlon News & Notes: Ironman Wales Carries on, Michellie Jones Coaches, Heart-Stopping Recovery, and More

The news from around the multisport world this week.

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Ironman Wales to go on despite Queen’s death

While many sporting events throughout the United Kingdom will be canceled or postponed this weekend out of respect to the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, Ironman Wales will go on, race organizers announced. “The sad news of the death of Queen Elizabeth II has been felt deeply by many within our community and we share our condolences with the Royal Family,” a statement read. “In light of further updates from national government and in consultation with local stakeholders, we can confirm that this weekend’s Ironman Wales event will continue as scheduled.” The event, set for Sunday, will include a moment of silence at the swim start to honor the Queen. Another popular event, the Knockburn Standard Triathlon in Scotland, will be held at a later date.

Sprinter Michael Johnson to make appearance at PTO US Open in Dallas

From the track to triathlon: Four-time Olympic gold medal sprinter Michael Johnson will be a special guest of the Professional Triathletes Organization at the first-ever PTO US Open in Dallas, Texas, next weekend. Johnson, now an accomplished broadcaster who hails from Dallas, will contribute to on-air commentary for the race and make appearances at special events leading up to the race. “Triathlon does intrigue me,” said Johnson. “I remember when it entered the Olympic arena at Sydney 2000 when I was competing. It certainly wasn’t the sport for me. I could never go for that long, but I remember thinking that these guys must be the ultimate endurance athletes. I’m looking forward to speaking to them and getting under the skin of what motivates them and how they train.”

Michellie Jones joins TriDot coaching team

Now, you can be coached by one of the greatest female triathletes of all time: Australia’s Michellie Jones has joined TriDot’s community of coaches, it was announced this week. Jones, the 2006 Ironman World Champion, Olympic Silver Medalist at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, two-time ITU World Champion, and XTERRA World Champion, will be coaching a limited number of athletes through the TriDot platform, which promises optimized training programs with “greater results in up to 30% less training time.”

2023 Ironman TriClub Champs series announced

This week, Ironman announced the select races for its 2023 global TriClub Championships Series, an initiative aimed at supporting local communities of athletes. Clubs from across multiple regions around the world will compete for the TriClub Champion title throughout the year, earning points every time their athletes cross the finish line at a designated race. Selected events span the globe, and include races in North America, Europe, Middle East, Africa, and Oceania.

Billington and Coon to team up for Philly half marathon

Paralympian Kyle Coon and Olympian Greg Billington will pair up for the Philadelphia Distance Run on September 18. Coon, who is visually impaired, finished fifth in the PTVI division of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics alongside his guide, pro triathlete Andy Potts, while Billington, who himself competed in triathlon at the 2016 Olympics in Rio, guided Brad Snyder to gold in Tokyo. Next week, Coon and Billington will cover 13.1 miles through the City of Brotherly Love  as one of 26 visually impaired runners representing the U.S. Association of Blind Athletes (USABA). “I have a special place in my heart for Philly seeing as I did much of my treatment at Wills Eye Hospital,” Coon, who lost his sight at the age of six after a battle with retinoblastoma, said. “It will certainly be an emotional race for me.”

Andy Potts and Kyle Coon work together in races. (Photo: Focal Flame Photography)

Related: Olympian Andy Potts Finds New Spark as Guide for First-Time Paralympian Kyle Coon

Triathlete shares story of heart stopping during race

Three years ago, age-group triathlete Mark Allen was in the shape of his life, prepping for Ironman Augusta 70.3 But when he experienced sudden cardiac arrest within the first few minutes of the swim, the then 47-year-old nearly died. Now, Allen is sharing his harrowing story with the American Heart Association—and the amazing strides he’s made since. Despite suffering brain damage after going 40 minutes without a steady heartbeat, Allen—whose heart failure was due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathyhas been able to return to work and to the gym and even plans to do another triathlon as a relay one day.  “He’s an Ironman,” Allen’s wife, Devon, said. “He epitomizes what that really is. He is what commitment looks like.”

Podcast Notes

  • Eric and Nick chat about their impending races on That Triathlon Life, then answer listener questions on topics like swim etiquette and going after a pro card.
  • Greg Bennett has a lively conversation with Aaron Royle, a multiple Olympian for Australia who has shined on the World Triathlon circuit.
  • Pro Tri News looks ahead to upcoming races, including PTO Dallas and the Super League Munich, both next week.
  • Vicky Holland shares her journey of transitioning from a pro triathlete to an on-air commentator for major events and offers some behind-the-scenes scoop on the IronWomen Podcast.
  • “The Voice of Ironman” Mike Reilly heads to the TriDot podcast to share all about his career of calling people into the finisher chute as well as his recent announcement to retire at the end of the 2022 season.