Challenge Poznan will see power couple Jodie Swallow and James Cunnama in action. This is the first time they are racing together since Ironman South Africa; Swallow has since been in Colorado to complete a training block, while Cunnama raced the Asian circuit. The couple are now reunited in Girona, Spain.
Cunnama has heard good things about Challenge Poznan from his coach and team manager Chris McCormack, who will also be present. He says, “Challenge Poznan in Poland will be a first for me and I am looking forward to ticking a new country off the list. It will be a test of form after a disappointing Ironman Cairns, but I am looking forward to kicking off the second half of the year well.”
Swallow looks forward to racing after overtraining forced her to scrap a planned assault on Challenge Roth. She says, “After an enforced sabbatical due to health problems it will be good to get going again and cement a foundation to begin my most important block of the year: World Ironman Championship build-up.”
Meanwhile, Ironman Canada has attracted Luke Bell and Paul Ambrose. Doing well at the race can seal the deal for qualification for the Ironman World Championship. The course in Whistler is not for the faint of heart, and both athletes have been building up to this race for months.
Ambrose says, “I love the course and venue for the race, and my preparation has been great. Looking forward to what I can do come Sunday.”
After a mid-season break in May following his second place at Ironman Australia and overcoming sickness, Bell relocated to Boulder to begin his 6-7 week strength based build up for Ironman Canada.
Bell has much to say about Whistler. “It is certainly a ‘bucketlist’ place to visit and race. The course itself is an honest one where pacing will be key to having a good day with over 2000m of vertical climbing over the 180km. But the views are spectacular on every leg.”
After missing Kona last year due to knee surgery, Bell is determined to be on that start line and in podium form, despite chasing points all year. However, his focus is on this weekend’s race. “Although the Hawaii Ironman World Championships are always the goal for all Ironman athletes, Ironman Canada is an integral part of the plan and an important event on the schedule. The key to the weekend will be, ‘Be in the moment and trust yourself.”