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Posted: April 14, 2009  : Add to Mixx!

Triathlon: Ironman China Heats Up Tropical Hainan Island

Haikou, China -- Balmy blue skies are greeting athletes arriving in Hainan for the second Ironman China, and Ironman 70.3 China, both presented by K-SWISS. There is no sign of the stormy weather that brought a typhoon to China's tropical South just days before the inaugural race in 2008. Still, as Ironman China was labelled by many experienced athletes as being the toughest in the Ironman series, there is much speculation about the weather as the mercury appears to be rising.

Race day conditions are currently predicted to stabilise at around 30 degrees Celsius, whilst the water temperature is currently 23 degrees, and the race is firmly in the destination category with almost 90 % of the registered athletes travelling internationally from 39 countries.

As hundreds of athletes take to the streets of Haikou and the surrounding areas to explore the course in the days preceding the race there are many bemused stares and shy waves from onlookers who are not yet familiar with the sight of Lycra clad bodies on such sparkling clean bikes.

"The local communities along the race course are really enthusiastic about Ironman China," said Race Director, Tinny Tung. "Being a combination of rural and urban landscape, including some highway sections we expect clusters of spectators on the course this weekend, particularly in the village and city centre sections."

Athletes who have tested parts of the modified bike course say that the use of freshly tarmaced highways could mean some very fast sections, though the raved about village roads in Shi Shan and Dao Tang, are likely to slow down athletes as they admire the scenery and glimpses of rural life. If they don't look up from the aero bars in these villages, athletes will get plenty of chances to see the many faces of Haikou as the new run course takes athletes alongside the palm tree lined Nandu river, through villages, and into the bustling old city before finishing over the crest of a bridge nestled between two lakes in the city's People's Park.

With 31 registered pro athletes for Ironman China, possible contenders for the title are ITU Long Distance champion Rasmus Henning, and Ironman Arizona 2008 champion Joszef Major - if they can they handle the climate. Two experienced tropical climate athletes who are also vying for the title are Ironman China 2008's second and third placed Byung Hoon Park (Korea), and Tim Marr (USA).

No less than five winning Ironman women are on the start line at Ironman China: Hillary Biscay (Ironman Wisconsin 2008), Mariska Kramer (Ironman Kentucky, 2008), Edith Niederfriniger (Ironman France 2008), and Tereza Macel (Ironman Korea 2006). Ironman China 2008 second placed Donna Phelan may have a returner's advantage, though Australia's Charlotte Paul, who fought hard to regain lost bike trouble time to take 3rd place at last month's Ironman New Zealand, laid down her intention yesterday, saying "I want to win Ironman China".

Next Sunday the start gun will fire twice, as just two hours after the start of the full distance race is Ironman 70.3 China. Despite being an age-grouper only race, there's no stopping a couple of Aussie fellas who want to race Ironman 70.3 China as the first ever 'friendly' pro race. Purely for the love of their sport, and a battle of wills, can up and coming two times Ironman winner Luke McKenzie, pip 2007 Ford Ironman World Champ, Chris McCormack to the finish line?

Ironman China and Ironman 70.3 China will be held on April 19th at Haikou, Hainan Island, China.

Follow the race:
Ironman China race start 0700, (0000 GMT, 1900 EST).
Live text updates and finish video feed

Ironman China Pro Start List

1 Byung Hoon PARK
2 Donna PHELAN
3 Timothy MARR
4 Tereza MACEL
8 Charlotte PAUL
9 Rasmus HENNING
10 Hillary BISCAY
11 Justin GRANGER
13 Patrick EVOE
14 Jocelyn Sui-Yee WONG
18 Yvette GRICE
19 Jozsef MAJOR
21 Keegan WILLIAMS
24 Manuel HUERTA
25 Markus STRINI
26 Patrick WALLIMANN
30 Shigenobu IKEGATA
31 Zach RUBLE

About Ironman China Ltd
Ironman China is owned and produced by Ironman China Ltd.

For further information please see

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