World championship season continues with Caroline Steffen and Jodie Swallow taking on the ITU Long-Course World Championship in Oklahoma City on Saturday.
The 4-kilometer swim, 120-kilometer cycle, and 30-kilometer run format is widely recognized as one where athletes can compete over long distances without incurring the muscle breakdown and extended recovery associated with full ironman races.
Steffen is a two-time world champion at this distance, taking the crown in 2010 and 2012. The Swiss says this is her last race for the 2016 season after having focused on exclusively racing the half-ironman distance. “I’d like to go for a third ITU long-course world title. Nice to go a different distance than 70.3. Hope my body still remembers how to go a little slower but longer. Looking forward to some tough racing with teammate Jodie.”
While Steffen is winding down her season at the ITU Long Course Worlds, Swallow will be using the long-course race to dial in the finishing touches for her A race at the Ironman World Championship. The Briton says, “It is always an honor to put on my country’s colors to represent them and my sponsors on the race course.” She has flown them across the ITU Long Course finish line before to earn her world champion stripes in 2009.
Ever the witty athlete, Swallow quips, “‘You’re not in Kansas anymore, Dorothy,’” making a Wizard of Oz reference. “And yet I am a lot nearer Kansas than either of my two homes [in South Africa and in Spain]. Time to represent my part of the globe in the States.”