McMahon, Kessler Set To Defend Ironman Arizona Titles

With a start list that includes nearly 100 pros, including a couple of notable Ironman rookies, there are bound to be a couple of surprises.

Photo: John David Becker

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With a start list that includes nearly 100 professionals, including a couple of notable Ironman rookies, there are bound to be a couple of surprises on Sunday.

Ironman Arizona always attracts a unique professional lineup and the 2015 race—set for this Sunday, Nov. 15—will be no different. The race’s start list includes some athletes looking to take advantage of the fitness from last month’s Ironman World Championship and some athletes working to gain points toward the 2016 Kona qualifying season. This year also marks the first time that Ironman Florida (which took place last weekend) did not include a professional race, meaning that Ironman Arizona is the only late-season U.S. Ironman option for pros.

The men’s race is highlighted by defending champion Brent McMahon of Canada. Last year at this race McMahon was stellar in his Ironman debut, dominating the race in 7:55:48. That sub-eight time was good enough to establish a new course record and stands as the fastest finish by an Ironman rookie. Turning in a duplicate performance may be tough for McMahon as this time he’s about a month removed from the Ironman World Championship, where he finished ninth. He’ll also face off against a tough field that includes 2009 Ironman Arizona champion Jordan Rapp (USA), 2008 Ironman Arizona champion Jozsef Major (HUN) and several top names including Andrew Starykowicz (USA), Lionel Sanders (CAN), Kevin Collington (USA), Matt Russell (USA), TJ Tollakson (USA), Maik Twelsiek (GER) and Marko Albert (EST). With a field of over 60 men look for an unknown or new name—such as American Drew Scott (the son of six-time Ironman world champion Dave Scott)—to make a statement with a podium finish.

RELATED VIDEO: Brent McMahon Goes Sub-8 In Ironman Debut

Last year’s women’s champion Meredith Kessler (USA) has raced in every running of Ironman Arizona, dating back to when she was competing as an age grouper. In 2014 Kessler came to Arizona after a disappointing Kona performance, and she’ll do the same this year and will again be hungry to show what she can do at the distance. One athlete to watch is Denmark’s Michelle Vesterby—who was impressive at last month’s Kona race to finish in fourth. The biggest question mark on this start list is American Sarah Haskins. The 2008 Olympian is known for dominating on the non-draft short-course circuit, and this marks her first time taking on the Ironman distance. Other names to watch for include Amanda Stevens (USA), Julia Gajer (GER), Melanie McQuaid (CAN) and Laurel Wassner (USA).

RELATED PHOTOS: 2014 Ironman Arizona

See the complete pro start list below.

1 Brent McMahon (CAN)
2 Jordan Rapp (USA)
3 Maik Twelsiek (GER)
4 TJ Tollakson (USA)
5 Matt Russell (USA)
6 Jozsef Major (HUN)
7 Marko Albert (EST)
8 David Plese (SLO)
9 Andrew Starykowicz (USA)
10 Drew Scott (USA)
11 Lionel Sanders (CAN)
12 Kevin Collington (USA)
13 Pedro Gomes (POR)
14 Sergio Marques (POR)
15 Mike Schifferle (SUI)
16 Chris Bagg (USA)
17 Blake Becker (USA)
18 Marcel Bischof (GER)
19 Patrick Bless (GER)
20 Karl Bordine (USA)
21 Raymond Botelho (USA)
22 Christian Brader (GER)
23 Patrice Brisindi (CAN)
24 Jordan Bryden (CAN)
25 Nicholas Chase (USA)
26 James Chesson (USA)
27 Emanuele Ciotti (ITA)
28 Reinaldo De Oliveira (BRA)
29 Ivan Dominguez (USA)
30 Nathan Dressel (USA)
31 Marc Duelsen (GER)
32 Robert Duncan (USA)
33 Lewis Elliot (USA)
34 Andrew Fast (USA)
35 Miguel Angel Fidalgo Rossell (ESP)
36 Thomas Gerlach (USA)
37 Dylan Gleeson (CAN)
38 Elmar Heger (GER)
39 Daniel Herlbauer (AUT)
40 Tyler Jordan (USA)
41 Matic Modic (SLO)
43 David Nasvik (SWE)
44 Derek Lantz (CAN)
45 Colin Laughery (USA)
46 James Lubinski (USA)
47 Arland Macasieb (PHI)
48 Doug Maclean (USA)
49 Felipe Manente (BRA)
50 Brent McBurney (USA)
51 Bryan McCrystal (IRL)
52 Gilian Oriet (SUI)
53 Mario Radevic (GER)
54 Jonathan Shearon (USA)
55 Michael Starkey (USA)
56 Joe Umphenour (USA)
57 Jorge Vazquez (MEX)
58 Jesse Vondracek (USA)
59 Jason Watson (USA)
60 Dirk Wijnalda (NED)
61 Dantley Young (USA)
62 Anthony Toth (CAN)

70 Meredith Kessler (USA)
71 Julia Gajer (GER)
72 Michelle Vesterby (DEN)
74 Melanie McQuaid (CAN)
75 Amanda Stevens (USA)
77 Lisa Roberts (USA)
78 Jennifer Lentzke (CAN)
79 Rahel Bellinga (NED)
80 Hayley Benson (USA)
81 Ali Black (USA)
82 Nelia Bliss (USA)
83 Cori Burnett (USA)
84 Katy Cargiulo (USA)
85 Terry Casey (USA)
86 Anna Cleaver (NZL)
87 Amber Ferreira (USA)
88 Christine Fletcher (CAN)
89 Richele Frank (CAN)
90 Sarah Graves (USA)
91 Sarah Haskins (USA)
92 Michaela Herlbauer (AUT)
93 Christina Jackson (USA)
94 Sarah Jarvis (GER)
95 Jessica Jones Meyers (USA)
96 Kathryn King (GBR)
97 Leslie Lamacchia (USA)
98 Kara LaPoint (USA)
99 Camilla Lindholm Borg (SWE)
101 Mackenzie Madison (USA)
102 Caroline Martineau (CAN)
103 Carrie McCoy (USA)
104 Tami Ritchie (USA)
105 Darbi Roberts (USA)
106 Frankie Sanjana (GBR)
107 Lauren Thompson (USA)
108 Laurel Wassner (USA)
109 Kelsey Withrow (USA)

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