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10 Reasons To Watch The Ironman World Championship

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Triathlon is not the world’s greatest spectator sport. Sure every race has its fair share of exciting moments, but taken as a whole, triathlon is about on par with baseball when it comes to watchability. Nonetheless, every so often our not-so-fan-friendly sport has a must-see event. Luckily for you and me, there’s a must-watch event on tap tomorrow. Mark my words: This year’s Hawaii Ironman will be one of the most exciting triathlons of all time—here are 10 reasons why.

10. Mirinda Carfrae: The pint-sized Aussie can run with the best of ‘em—including Chrissie Wellington. In all likelihood Carfrae will be well back of Wellington after the bike, but if not, we may see one hell of a women’s race.

9. Andreas Raelert: The former ITU standout had a heck of a 140.6-mile debut last November, winning Ironman Arizona in 8:14:16. More impressive, however, was the German’s 2:46 run split—not bad considering he didn’t do any marathon-specific training. Watch out for Raelert on the run.

8. The Humidity: The trade winds have been noticeably weak around the Big Island this week, which might not be such a good thing for the athletes. In Hawaii, no wind means high humidity, which could make for a very tough run. The heat index today (Friday) is 97 degrees and the forecast doesn’t look much better for tomorrow.

7. Lots of Live Coverage: Can’t make it to Kona in the next 12 hours? No worries—you’ll still be able to catch all the action on either Ironman.com or Universalsports.com.

6. Kyle Garlett: He may be the toughest son-of-a-you-know-what to ever compete in Kona. The four-time cancer survivor had his heart replaced (yes, replaced) three years ago and now has his sights set on an Ironman finish. Garlett, 38, will be sporting bib number 185.

5. Rutger Beke and Torbjorn Sindballe: Neither is here and that will no doubt change the way the men’s race unfolds. Without Sindballe on the bike, it’ll be up to Stadler and Lieto to control the pace. Without Beke on the run, the early marathon leaders will be able to relax a bit, knowing that the fleet-footed Belgian isn’t stalking.

4. Andy Potts and Linsey Corbin: For the first time since Bush’s first term, it appears the Red, White and Blue has a legitimate podium contender in both the men’s and women’s races. Corbin has been here for over a month getting ready and looks incredibly fit. Potts is simply one of the toughest athletes on Earth and will burry himself to get on the podium.

3. Eneko Llanos: Last year’s runner-up doesn’t get quite the hype that Crowie, Macca and Normann receive, but history says that Llanos will win tomorrow. In the last 15 years only one man has scored repeat wins (Tim Deboom in 2001 and 2002), while the previous year’s runner-up has won on six occasions. So, statistically speaking, Llanos is six times more likely than Alexander to win tomorrow.

2. Rudy Garcia-Tolson: He’s simply the most badass 21-year old I’ve ever come across. On Saturday Tolson will attempt to become the first double above-the-knee amputee to finish the Ironman. Can a kid with no legs finish the hardest single-day endurance event in the world? We’ll find out tomorrow. Rudy will be wearing bib number 202.

1. 8:55:28: That’s Paul Newby-Fraser’s course record, which Wellington will be looking to break tomorrow. Last year, Wellington finished in 9:06:23 after a 10-minute pit stop to change a flat. A flat-free day should have the Brit very, very close to breaking the 17-year-old record.