The Ironman World Championships, triathlon's most iconic event, is just days away. Thousands of the world’s fittest athletes are gathering in Hawaii for what is sure to be the endurance event of the year on Saturday 12 October.
Designed to be an ultimate test of character and fitness, the Ironman World Championships sees competitors take on a 2.4 mile (3.8km) swim, 112 mile (180.2km) bike ride and a 26.2 mile (42.2km) run. That’s 140.6 miles or 226.3 km in total.
Throw in the fact that Hawaii is known for aggressive "ho’omumuku" crosswinds reaching up to 45 mph (72 kph) and 95-degree temperatures, and you have a challenge very few can rise to. Kona is not for the faint of heart.
The men’s race this year is, according to triathlete.com, shaping up to be one of the most exciting in recent years. Some sources go a step further, dubbing the line up to be the strongest ever assembled. The women's race has been dominated by Daniela Ryf in recent years but three On athletes are hoping to shake things up a little.
2 - Bart Aernouts
Even with a horde of elite level athletes gathering in Hawaii this weekend, Bart Aernouts has to be in with a chance. His stunning second place finish last year was cemented after a blistering marathon time saw him finish with an overall time of 7:56:41.
One of just two athletes to break the 8-hour mark, his time would have been enough to make him a record-breaking champion on any other year.
“You need to be ready to give it your best for eight hours, and be confident in what you did was the right thing.” he told us.
“But I think the mental preparation is maybe the most important one. It's such a long day and so much can happen. Everybody's fit on race day. What makes the difference, it's the guy that has the right mindset, and also mentally ready to suffer for eight hours.”
You can get an exclusive look at Bart’s preparation inIronmind, the latest episode of Storied Runs.