August is always a critical time of year for many pro triathletes on the road to Kona.
Some of the top pros already have their ticket stamped, but the majority of male and female pros are in for a battle if they hope to land one of the available spots to the big show in Hawaii.
Often it involves a lot of traveling and in some cases racing several events with little rest in between in order to build up enough Kona Ranking Points.
Sometimes an athlete will come out of nowhere and earn a spot in Kona.
A great example is Mary Beth Ellis who ran three Ironman races in about six weeks in order to qualify for Kona in 2011. Very few people had heard of her, but they sure knew all about her when she won all three of those races including Ironman Canada that normally takes place on the last Sunday of August.
Mary Beth went on to a top five finish in Ironman Hawaii 2012 and it’s the only Ironman race she has entered that she didn’t win.
Mary Beth Ellis was right up at the front for most of Ironman Hawaii 2012 but could not sustain the demanding pace in a race that was eventually won by Leanda Cave.
2013 might just be her year as she comes of a great tune-up win in Ironman Mont-Tremblant and in doing so, became the North American Ironman Champion for 2013.
The quest for points pretty much guarantees that the August WTC events will be very competitive and stacked with excellent pros intent on scoring as many points as possible.
The inaugural Ironman Whistler at the end of August has replaced Ironman Canada in Penticton and along with Ironman Louisville will provide a couple of last opportunities to land a coveted spot in the Ironman Hawaii World Championships.
It may not be the last chance as it seems there will be an Ironman in Japan at the end of August.
Beginning in September, any points earned will go toward the World Championships in 2014.
Often there is so much effort put into getting to Kona that on Ironman Hawaii race day there is no fuel left in the tank and the results may not be as good as one hoped.
It seems the best way to qualify for Kona is to begin early in the season and set up a plan that enables one to get lots of points in the first half of the year and not have to rely so much on the last half.
This way a pro can go into Ironman Hawaii fully rested and race their best on the biggest Ironman Triathlon stage in the world.
One wonders what will happen this year with Mary Beth being qualified early in the year and going into the race in top form?
If she is fully rested she will be a formidable foe and might very well present a serious challenge for top spot on the podium in Kona 2013.
Best of luck to all the WTC pro triathletes making the August run for a qualifying spot to the World Championships and especially to IronStruck sponsored Olesya Prystayko of the Ukraine who is in her first year as a WTC pro and in the mix for one of the final qualifying spots.