IRONMAN Australia champions David Dellow and Laura Siddall have confirmed they are returning to Port Macquarie on 6 May to defend their titles but they won’t have it all their own way.
The men’s field has been boosted with the inclusion of the super strong and lightning fast Luke McKenzie and Belgian superstar Marino Vanhoenacker who is making his Ironman Australia debut.
During their careers both McKenzie and Vanhoenacker have held the world’s fastest time for an Ironman and are guaranteed to cause mayhem on rolling but fast Port Macquarie course.
Dellow’s gutsy win last year was against the odds with shoulder surgery severely restricting his preparation and leaving him under done. But on race day Dellow dug deep and found a way to win. This year he returns, with his focus clearly on going back to back.
Ironman Australia will kick off my 2018 racing season and there's an Australian championship title up for grabs so I'm very motivated to have a good race.
“Unlike like 2017 when I was coming of surgery I've had an excellent preparation this year, Port Macquarie will be my first race of the year so I've been able to get in an uninterrupted four month training block.”
“Ironman Australia will kick off my 2018 racing season and there's an Australian championship title up for grabs so I'm very motivated to have a good race.”
“I've changed my approach a bit for this year, I'm not thinking long term, just one race at a time so for now I'm just thinking as far ahead as the 6th May,” Dellow said.
The in-form Siddall is fresh from her win at Ironman New Zealand and will take some beating.
But the women’s field has been boosted by the inclusion of former ITU World Cup champion and Ironman 70.3 European Champion and Ironman 70.3 Western Sydney Champion, Annabel Luxford who is making her debut at Ironman Australia.
In recent years Luxford has combined racing with her digital communications role but she says she has done all the hard work and her preparation is on track.
She will arrive in Port Macquarie ready to race.
“As an athlete who’s balancing a corporate job with professional racing, I needed a domestic race that didn’t require lengthy travel or time zone changes. So the proximity of Port Macquarie has been the key to my decision to race.”
“Port Macquarie is also appealing as it is the Australian Championship. I’ve won the Australian Championship as a junior, and also across all distances, Sprint, Olympic, half Ironman, I’d love to be able to add Ironman Australia to that list.”
Port Macquarie is also appealing as it is the Australian Championship. I’ve won the Australian Championship as a junior, and also across all distances, Sprint, Olympic, half Ironman, I’d love to be able to add Ironman Australia to that list.
“Preparation is always challenging when you’re combining work and training. There is never enough time for as much training as you’d like or as much recovery. It’s been fairly uneventful however, so that’s a good thing.”
Luxford’s 2018 has started well with two strong performances, winning a half distance event in New Zealand and a second place at ITU Oceania Olympic Distance championship in St Kilda behind Natalie van Coevorden.
“It is my first Ironman of 2018 and last race in Australia before taking some leave from work and racing in Europe. I expect a challenging and honest course that is quintessentially Australian, with rough roads, a beautiful swim and cheering Aussie crowds,” she said.
The story Champions return to defend their Ironman Australia crowns first appeared on Port Macquarie News.