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25th Ironman 70.3 Vineman Draws Impressive Field

One of the most popular and longest running Ironman 70.3 events will be celebrating 25 years this weekend.

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One of the most popular and longest running Ironman 70.3 events will be celebrating 25 years this weekend. With so many 70.3 races around the world these days, it’s rare to find such a deep field at a non-championship event, but the rich history, beautiful location, $50,000 prize purse and Kona qualifying points have drawn an impressive professional field. In addition to the pros, a sold-out age-group field of 2,200 athletes will also be competing in Sonoma County this weekend.

Men’s Race
The men’s field is highlighted by three-time Ironman and two-time Ironman 70.3 world champ Craig “Crowie” Alexander of Australia. While he’s certainly the most decorated athlete in the field, any number of men could take the Vineman crown this Sunday, including fellow Aussie and multiple Ironman and 70.3 champion Luke Bell, who (besides Crowie) is the only other former winner of this race. Another Aussie, Sam Appleton, who recently won 70.3 Cairns, could make a strong showing this weekend. The race also features a notably strong field of Americans, including Tim O’Donnell, T.J. Tollakson, Kevin Collington, Ben Collins, Davide Giardini, Matt Lieto and Matty Reed. Other top long-course competitors for the title include Ironman champion Chris McDonald of Australia and Kiwi Mark Bowstead, who is fresh off a win at Ironman 70.3 Buffalo Springs.

Women’s Race
Topping the women’s start list is three-time and defending champion Meredith Kessler, who lives in nearby San Francisco and refers to Vineman as her “hometown race.” She’s obviously very familiar with the course and is having a strong season, so she’ll be tough to dethrone, but there are several top women racing against her this year. Her toughest competition will come from two world champs—three-time Ironman world champ and former 70.3 world champ Mirinda “Rinny” Carfrae (Australia), who won Vineman in 2010, and former Ironman and 70.3 world champion Leanda Cave of Great Britain, who has been the runner-up at Vineman twice. Other top contenders include recent Ironman Coeur d’Alene champion Heather Jackson, who finished second here two years ago, Canadian Magali Tisseyre, Brits Emma-Kate Lidbury and Holly Lawrence, who was the runner-up at Oceanside this year, and American Lauren Brandon.

RELATED PHOTOS: 2014 Ironman 70.3 Vineman

Pro men
Craig Alexander (AUS)
Matt Reed (USA)
Luke Bell (AUS)
Sam Appleton (AUS)
Kevin Collington (USA)
Timothy O’Donnell (USA)
Ben Collins (USA)
Kyle Buckingham (RSA)
Mark Bowstead (NZL)
Matt Lieto (USA)
Davide Giardini (USA)
TJ Tollakson (USA)
Chris McDonald (AUS)
Joe Umphenour (USA)
Barrett Brandon (USA)
John Dahlz (USA)
Eric Clarkson (USA)
Chris Berg (USA)
Nate Dressel (USA)
Dylan Bridges Oliva (USA)
Brian Hrynkow (CAN)
Reilly Smith (USA)
Fabio Carvalho (BRA)
Benjamin Williams (USA)
Jake Montgomery (AUS)
Esteban Rosas (MEX)
Steve Rosinski (USA)
Chris Baird (USA)
Yu Hsiao (USA)
Keith Butsko (USA)
Andrew Langfield (USA)
Alistair Eeckman (USA)
Reeven Nathan (USA)
Jason Watson (USA)
Kennett Peterson (USA)

Pro women
Meredith Kessler (USA)
Mirinda Carfrae (AUS)
Emma-Kate Lidbury (GBR)
Leanda Cave (GBR)
Heather Jackson (USA)
Laura Siddall (GBR)
Emily Cocks (USA)
Holly Lawrence (NZL)
Caroline Gregory (USA)
Lauren Brandon (USA)
Bree Wee (USA)
Kelsey Withrow (USA)
Magali Tisseyre (CAN)
Kara LaPoint (USA)
Tamara Kozulina (UKR)
Liz Noey (USA)
Tracy Douglas (AUS)
Jessica Chong (USA)
Bailey Hinz (USA)
Carly Johann (USA)
Leslie LaMacchia (USA)
Mackenzie Madison (USA)
Brittany Pierce (USA)
Allison Stewart (USA)
Christine Avelar (USA)
Erin Crum (USA)
Ali Black (USA)