Before the media frenzy and wild predictions of race week begin, here are some relevant facts concerning the Ironman World Championship and Javier Gomez.

Javier Gomez announced his intention to race the Ironman World Championship at the beginning of 2018 and triathlon fans went justifiably crazy. Gomez, still in his prime, is bound to bring class, speed and competition to Iron-distance racing. ITU racing must be saddened to have lost a legend but Gomez’s move has been anticipated for some time given his achievement in half-distance non-drafting races and the natural evolution of maturing triathletes into new challenges and different media outlets.

Gomez’s appearance is bound to cause a storm on the Big Island in the days leading up to Kona. And it should – no other athlete has achieved the longevity and consistency that Javi has in triathlon.

Before the media frenzy and wild predictions of race week begin, here are some relevant facts concerning the Ironman World Championship and Javier Gomez.

  • Javier Gomez Noya will race the Ironman World Championship for the first time in 2018. No male first-timer has won the Championship title since Luc Van Lierde in 1996.
  • Gomez has completed one Ironman previous to Kona, Ironman Cairns, in July 2018. Though he broke the 8-hour barrier, he did not win the race. (Bradon Currie secured the win in the latter stages of the marathon).
  • Gomez ran a 2:41 marathon at Ironman Cairns but Currie ran a minute quicker. Terenzo Bozzone and Timothy O’Donnell were both within 5 mins of Gomez’s run split. (In Kona 2017, Currie finished 30th. Bozzone was 6th. O’Donnell was 19th.) Gomez ran the fastest split in the field from 16km to 24km of the marathon, starting the marathon aggressively and suffering in the latter stages. From that lesson he may conserve his effort for a little later in the marathon in Kona.
  • Gomez is the most decorated triathlete of all time with an ITU career that garnered World Cup wins and Series titles for fifteen years. Twice Ironman 70.3 World Champion, he finished third at Ironman 70.3 World Championship 2018 in Port Elizabeth.

Gomez had raced fairly sparsely and quietly for much of 2018, winning half-distance races easily but scheduling no real showdowns with the top contenders for the title. That all changed at the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Port Elizabeth. Gomez finished third behind a completely dominant Jan Frodeno and a faster finishing Alistair Brownlee. Gomez, champion that he is, was melancholic about the result and may have wondered what may have been if stomach issues had not set in at the 15km mark. Tackling that problem will be even more difficult in Kona at Ironman distance and in the heat. Gomez will be focused on doing just that.

The Ironman World Championship in Kona is unique in its challenges. It takes preparation, pedigree and also practice. Gomez’s ‘rookie’ status means he ‘probably shouldn’t’ win rather than he should. But legends are deemed so because they are capable of the extraordinary. Gomez has already written his own triathlon history, and a win in Kona would add another riveting chapter to the Spaniard’s career. He is thoroughly capable of surprising everyone (and no-one) come race day.

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