IRONMAN KOREA 2011
Ironman Korea 2011 is back in the Ironman family of WTC full-Ironman races. With the cancellation of Ironman China, Ironman Korea will be the only Ironman in Asia this year.
IRONMAN KOREA 2011 KONA SPOTS
My first thought is that a lot of age-groupers who have been trying to get a pass into Kona for years now may have missed the boat on this one.
With the cancellation of Ironman China, 25 more qualifying spots for the big show in Kona were moved over to Ironman Korea. That is huge for one very big reason.
There are only 911 age-group athletes who will be at the start line on race morning. What an opportunity. Not only are there more available qualifying spots, but there is not a huge age-group field.
The actual odds of landing a Kona spot are so good that just over 12 percent of the age-group field will be off to Kona.
Compare that say with Ironman Canada with the expectation this year of over 3000 age-groupers. The standard amount of age-group qualifying spots show just how good the odds are in Korea Ironman 2011.
The weather is anybody’s guess as it can fluctuate so much from day to day. In past years the swim has been a bit of a nightmare as the winds have whipped the water up into a frenzy.
However the water might be the least of the worries as temperatures this time of year could well reach 40c once the athletes are out on the road.
The winner of those qualifying spots will still have to work very hard for the right to represent their age-group in Kona.
The Korean course is pretty much the opposite of Ironman Austria that is also set to go on July 3rd.
You can expect a time in the neighborhood of 8 hours flat in Austria, and most likely closer to 8:20-8:30 in Korea because of course elevation gains.
The swim will be the standard(at least for most courses these days)two-loop affair.
I just have to share the Ironman Korea website version of the swim course that has obviously been translated from Korean to English.
and I quote……..
There will be 2 swim loops (1 loop for 70.3 Ironman) designed based on straight 950 meters long swim course. Even under extreme weather condition, this new swim course will always enlighten athletes to perform their maximum ability at average ocean tides due to long breakwater already built to protect such natural obstacles.
I am not even going to try and figure this out, but instead will let you make of it what you will.
I’m not quite sure if the swimmers stand a chance of being sucked out to sea or if they will be swimming in calm protected waters.
Of course I am just having some fun at the expense of our Korean friends and I’m sure it will be a great swim come race-day.
The bike is a two-loop affair as well and by all accounts will be very challenging. This could very well be where the final outcome of Ironman Korea 2011 will be decided. The better climbers among the pros may manage to make a substantial break.
There is a 3k climb that will be encountered twice of course and also quite a lot of other elevation gains through-out the 90k loop. If the winds happen to kick up the degree of difficulty of the bike course will increase substantially.
I have a feeling that the run will challenge the pros and may make it difficult to accomplishment a time under 8:30.
I will go as far as to say there will most likely be less than 3 pros who break the 3-hour mark on the run.
If I understand correctly, that 3k climb on the bike course will be part of the run course as well.
THE ATHLETES OF IRONMAN KOREA 2011
First of all I must say again what an opportunity it is for those in this race. Some triathletes outside of Korea have certainly picked up on this. The foreign field has climbed to 50% when in past years it was about 20%
By today’s Ironman standards, this is a very small field. As a matter of fact this field is smaller by several hundred from the field that started Ironman Hawaii back in 1984.
As I said, there will only be 911 age-groupers in the Ironman along with 18 pros. The remainder of the registered 1,150 entries will be in the 70.3 which will also be a small field.
As far as the pros it’s hard not to like Jan Rehula for the men as he knows the course and had also been living in Korea.
He will be challenged by local favorite Korean Ham Yeun Sik who will have plenty of crowd support.
For the pro women I am going with Kate Bevilaqua.
This will be Kate’s first attempt at this course. I have a feeling that although Kate has not had the results she might have wanted in earlier IM races. She is quietly rounding into form and this just might be Kate’s time to shine.
Jocelyn Wong from the USA returns to Jeju and has also had the opportunity to spend time training in Korea and will provide good competition in the pro women race.
Best of luck to all those who are entered in what could be a very tough Ironman Korea 2011 and may the waters be calm and the wind silent.
A special good luck to the age-groupers entered in Ironman Korea 2011 who have a glorious opportunity to qualify for Kona 2011.
Visit ironman.com for race schedule.