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Triathlon News & Notes: Lionel Sanders Expecting Baby, Triathlete Mistakes Heart Attack, and More

The news from around the multisport world this week.

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SLT Games rakes in 21.7 million viewers

Coverage of Super League Triathlon (SLT)’s Arena Games garnered a viewership of 21.7 million people, according to the event organizer. Dubbed as the first-ever esports world championship for triathlon, coverage for the series—which took place in Munich, London, and Singapore in April and May—aired in 136 countries, with most of the viewership coming from Europe and North America. The numbers are a promising sign for SLT, which aims to make triathlon a spectator sport via its unique super-sprint format in various stages featuring athletes riding on trainers and running on treadmills. Missed the live coverage? The events can still be viewed on Outside Watch. 

PTO inks coverage deal with Warner Bros. Discovery

In another boon for triathlon TV coverage, the Professional Triathletes Organization (PTO) has secured an agreement with Warner Bros. Discovery. In a three-year partnership, Warner Bros. will broadcast live and on-demand coverage of the PTO Tour in 50 territories across Europe. The union builds on Warner Bros. Discovery broadcast of last year’s Collins Cup, which reached a live and on-demand TV audience in more than 175 territories. In this piece, Alex Payne, the host of the PTO coverage, talks about his role and plans for elevating coverage and storytelling in the sport. 

WATCH: You can also catch all PTO races on Outside Watch

Ashley Paulson wins Badwater 135

Pro triathlete Ashley Paulson was the first female and third person overall to cross the line of the Badwater 135, considered one of the toughest ultra runs in the world. Paulson covered the 135 miles (which included a 14,000 foot climb up Mt. Whitney in temperatures exceeding 100 degrees) in 24 hours, 9 minutes, and 34 seconds, setting a course record for women. The St. George, Utah-based mother of four, 40, is a prolific racer. She has run 98 marathons and completed her 27th Ironman race in Texas last April (finishing 19th among pro women) after winning the Florida Double Anvil Triathlon–a 4.6-mile swim, 224-mile bike, and 52.4 mile run–a few weeks prior. Paulson previously served a doping sanction for ostarine, which was believed to have come from a contaminated supplement.

Lenoir-Rhyne University taps Harley Nunan as triathlon coach 

Harley Nunan has been tapped to head the men’s and women’s triathlon program at Lenoir-Rhyne University. Nunan, who previously worked as the coaching education manager for USA Triathlon, where she coordinated education clinics and developed curriculum for coaches, comes to the Hickory, North Carolina school with a wealth of coaching experience including a stint at Newberry College. Lenoir Rhyne, a private NCAA Division II school, is one of the several colleges to recently add triathlon to its suite of sports programs. 

RELATED: Triathlon Hits Mark to Become Next NCAA Sport

Sam Long headed to Alpe d’Huez triathlon

Continuing on his self-dubbed “Euro Tour,” American pro Sam Long announced he will next race the notoriously tough Alpe d’Huez triathlon. The race, slated for July 28, features a 2.2 km in Lac du Verney, a brutal 118 km bike course up Alpe d’Huez, and a 20km run, all at 1,800 meters. Long will face competition, including 2021 duathlon world champ Nathan Guerbeur and 2019 Alpe d’Huez champ Guillaume Romain, both of France. 

Lionel Sanders, wife Erin, expecting a baby

Canadian pro Lionel Sanders and his wife, Erin, announced that they are expecting a baby in the fall. “I’m quite nervous about it. I’m going to have to start reading here real soon,” he said in a YouTube video, which features the 2022 Ironman Mont Tremblant 70.3 winner during a recent track workout as well as a heartfelt montage of Erin’s many appearances at Sander’s races over the years. No word on the exact due date, or how close it will be to the Ironman World Championships in early October. 

iTri program featured on the Today Show

iTri, a program aimed at empowering middle school girls by training for a triathlon, was highlighted on the third hour of the Today Show on Friday morning. The piece includes an interview with iTri founder Theresa Roden, who launched the program 12 years ago and has since overseen some 1,000 girls in and around the Sag Harbor, New York area train for and complete a triathlon. “I just thought, ‘Gosh if we could empower girls at this age and give them all the tools and training and the love and support necessary to do a really big goal like doing a triathlon, giving them the confidence to set a big goal and achieving that, it can change everything,’” Roden said.   

Triathlete mistakes heart attack for a snug sports bra  

A 35-year-old New Zealand triathlete who simply thought her sports bra was too tight eventually found out that the constricting feeling was actually a heart attack. Back in 2016, Anna Cupples, a 7-time Ironman finisher and a world championship qualifier, was playing ultimate frisbee when she began to feel tightness around her sports bra. After initially disregarding the discomfort, she eventually went to the hospital only to find out that she had suffered a spontaneous coronary artery dissection, or SCAD, which occurs when a blood vessel in the heart tears and can cause a heart attack, which is what happened to her. Cupples, who recovered and went on to marry and have a baby, shared her story as a cautionary tale, especially for those who are uber fit. “No matter who you are,” she said. “Don’t ignore chest pain.”

RELATED: Do Triathletes Need to Worry About Heart Attacks?

Podcast Notes

  • The Triathlete Hour welcomes 70.3 North American champ Jackie Hering, who chats about her rise in the sport, balancing her career while raising two young children, racing on Zwift, and being an excellent snowshoe runner, to boot.
  • Paula and Eric of That Triathlon Life answer listener questions, including tips on creating a Strava segment, faster descents, and more.
  • The IronWomen hosts discuss last weekend’s racing, including a FKT triumph for Alyssa and a runner-up spot at Clash Watkins Glen for Haley.
  • World Triathlon Podcast brings on James Riddle, a promising South African who competes on the WTCS circuit.
  • Greg Bennett chats with renowned running coach Bobby McGee, who currently works with stars of the sport including Taylor Knibb, Flora Duffy, and Kirsten Kasper.
  • ProTriNews chats about WTCS Hamburg, Ironman Vitoria, Clash Watkins Glen, and Oregon 70.3, and then offers a preview of PTO Canada Open.
  • MXEndurance podcast analyzes whether Magnus Ditlev’s performance at Challenge Roth was one of the greatest-ever performances by a male, plus other news from around the triathlon world. 

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Video: 4X World Champion Mirinda Carfrae Makes Her Picks for 70.3 Chattanooga

Carfrae and former pro Patrick Mckeon break down the iconic course in Chattanooga, who looks good for the pro women's race, and their predictions for how the day will play out.