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Triathlon News & Notes: Lionel Bounces Back, New Doc Follows Him & Heather Jackson, Hamburg Hosts World Champs

A look at some of the buzz we’ve picked up in the sport over the past seven days.

Hamburg to host world triathlon sprint and relay champs in 2023

World Triathlon announced this week that Hamburg, Germany has been named the host of the 2023 World Triathlon Sprint and Relay Champs. The German city will serve as the sight of nine races in 2023. Elite athletes will compete in the eliminator format, which consists of super sprint races with heats, semifinals, and a final, and in the mixed relay world championships. Juniors and age-groupers will compete over the sprint distance, as well as in the mixed relay for world championship titles. Before that, though, Hamburg hosts the World Triathlon Championship Series (WTCS) event on Sept. 18 and 19, an event originally scheduled for July but postponed due to COVID-19 concerns.

Iron Cowboy feature shows how he was able to “defy logic”

James “Iron Cowboy” Lawrence is profiled in a lengthy feature in the New York Times this week. The piece chronicles Lawrence’s otherworldly feat of completing 101 Iron-distance triathlons in as many days and highlights some of those in his entourage who raced alongside of him—like the new mom who completed an entire Iron-distance event with Lawrence just months after having a baby and having never done a triathlon before; and another who lost 35 pounds just by swimming with Lawrence. Now about three weeks out from his feat, the reality of the accomplishment is sinking in with Lawrence, who posted, “I believe we reset history, made sports endurance history and completely defied logic. A new bar has been set as to what the human mind, body and spirit can accomplish.”

RELATED: The Iron-Cowboy Conquers 101 Iron-Distance Triathlons in 101 Days

Lubbock 70.3 founder injured on his way to race

Mike Greer, the founder of Ironman 70.3 Lubbock in Texas, is recovering after a serious motorcycle accident that occurred as he was on his way to the event early Sunday morning. The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal reported that Greer suffered a concussion, broken ribs, a broken pelvis and a fractured spine, his more severe injuries requiring a lengthy surgery. Still, he is expected to make a full recovery.

Flora Duffy among just two athletes representing Bermuda in Tokyo

Bermuda is bringing just two athletes to Tokyo next month, including triathlete Flora Duffy. Duffy, along with rower Dara Alizadeh, will comprise the smallest Bermuda team ever at a Summer Games, one fewer than at the Melbourne Olympics in 1956. This will be the fourth straight Olympic squad for Duffy, a multiple-time world champ in the sport. She most recently placed fourth at WCTS Leeds last month.

Lionel Sanders vows to “keep doing Ironman” after disappointing race

After a less-than-stellar race at Ironman Coeur D’Alene last week, Lionel Sanders took to his YouTube channel to express his frustrations and his intention to give the distance another shot. Sanders, who was in contention for the men’s pro win (ultimately taken by Sam Long) until he suffered from severe GI issues that reduced him to a walk for about 15 miles of the 26.2-mile run, articulated how difficult the race was and how, in the moment, he was ready to retire. Somewhat recovered and with a better perspective, the 33-year-old Canadian, who has yet to secure an Ironman World Championship slot for this October, said: “After a bad race, you don’t really want to talk. You want to go inside of yourself. It was absolutely miserable…I wanted to retire in the moment, but now I want to do an Ironman this weekend. I’ll keep doing Ironman until I get it right.” Sanders is lined up to race German pro Jan Frodeno  in the Tri Battle, where he says he’s “ready to give [Frodeno] a run for this money.”

RELATED: Lionel v. Jan: Don’t Say World Record Attempt

First episode of Beyond Human documentary available to stream

And speaking of Sanders, the camera-loving Canadian can be seen on the first episode of the two-part documentary Beyond Human, now available to stream online for free. The film, which has been produced by award-winning, UK-based production company Noah Media, takes an intimate look at the lives of the biggest names in the sport right now. The first episode features Sanders, German Sebastian Kienle, and American Heather Jackson as they gear up for a selection into the Professional Triathletes Organization (PTO)’s inaugural Collins Cup.

Sophie Watts signs with Zoot

Sophie Watts, who started the 2021 season relatively under-the-radar, has now signed with Zoot Sports. The 27-year-old Watts (née Chase) got her start on the ITU scene, but has made a big impact on long-course racing with a third place finish at her 70.3 debut at Ironman 70.3 Texas, and a top 10 finish at the 70.3 North American Championships in St. George, Utah in May. “Zoot’s ‘Ohana’ mission to create a supportive, inclusive and passionate triathlon community is one I share,” she posted this week. “I could not be more excited to enjoy the journey, grow and achieve as an athlete and person with the support of the Zoot family.”

“Super Sam”

Among the sold-out field of 2,000 athletes at this Sunday’s Outlaw Half Holkham triathlon in Norfolk, England will be Sam Holness, the man on a mission to become the first professional triathlete with autism. There, Holness will share the course with some top pros who will be competing for the £12,000 ($16,587) prize purse. “This is a great chance for Sam to mix with some incredible athletes and learn from them,” said his coach and father, Tony Holness. “Ultimately, this is where we want Sam to be and every opportunity like this brings him a step closer to his dream.”

RELATED: Autism Isn’t Stopping Sam Holness from Going Far (And Fast)

T-Rex finisher turns heads at Rev3 Williamsburg

Pros Emma Pallant and Andrew Starykowicz may have won the respective titles at the Rev3 Williamsburg Half on Sunday, but the real VIP is Christina Schreckengaust, who finished the race in an inflatable T-Rex costume. The Virginia Beach, Virginia resident turned heads after she slipped into the garb (which her husband handed off to her moments before she made her way down the finish stretch), a move made simply to bring a smile to people’s faces as she celebrated her finish a year after back surgery.

Podcast Notes

  • Michelle Dillon, founder of Team Dillon, and a former World and European champion and two-time Olympian for Great Britain, talks with Simon Ward about her career-ending back injury and pivoting to coaching.
  • American pro Ben Kanute chats with Triathlon Taren about the simple things he has done to improve his running. Kanute is also featured on the Real Triathlon podcast this week, where he talks about his career.
  • Alistair Brownlee opens up about his career with The World Triathlon podcast, explaining  among other things why he owes so much to the sport, what it is that defines greatness and why the British Mixed Relay team is in good hands at Tokyo 2020 with brother Jonny and Alex Yee.
  • Morgan Pearson caught up with the Zwift PowerUp Tri podcast to discuss fulfilling his Olympic dreams and more about how he pivoted from an elite runner to a pro triathlete.
  • MX Endurance podcast brings on British pro Kat Matthews to chat about her breakthrough second place finish at Ironman Tulsa where she ran a blistering 2:49 marathon and talks recent results including Ironman Coeur D’Alene, Elsinore 70.3, and the ETU Championship.
  • Pro triathletes and IronWomen podcast hosts Haley Chura and Alyssa Godesky report live from Ironman Coeur d’Alene, where they both competed. The pair offer some pre-race insight as well as a post-race breakdown live from the finish area (spoiler alert: Chura placed fourth and snagged a Kona slot.)