Bahrain will host the IRONMAN 70.3 Middle Eastern Championship on Friday, with Great Britain’s Bahrain Victorious athletes Alistair Brownlee and Kat Matthews headlining strong fields in the Kingdom.
With slots for the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship next year up for grabs in New Zealand, along with a hefty prize purse, the racing is set to be fierce.
In our preview piece below, you can find all the information you need on start times, the professional fields and how to follow along live.
Start time and how to follow
The race will take place on Friday December 8. In Bahrain, the professional men will start first, with the gun going off at 06:20 local time. This corresponds to 03:20 in the UK, 04:20 in Central Europe and 19:20 on the West Coast on Thursday December 9.
The women’s race in Bahrain will commence three minutes later at 06:23 local time. This corresponds to 03:23 in the UK, 04:23 in Central Europe and 19:23 on the West Coast.
Unfortunately, there is no live stream this weekend in the Middle East. However, the ever reliable IRONMAN Tracker App is a useful companion and will provide up-to-date splits throughout the swim, bike and run for the professional and age group races.
The women’s field, led by PTO World #6 Matthews, looks set to be extremely competitive, with the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship runner-up just one of a number of talented athletes taking to the start line.
Taylor Knibb and Kat Matthews embrace on the finish line in Lahti [Photo credit: Nigel Roddis, Getty Images for IRONMAN]
Joining Matthews in Bahrain is fellow Brit India Lee, who earlier in the season finished first at Challenge “The Championship” before more recently impressing at IRONMAN Florida with a strong second place in only her second full-distance race.
From Down Under, Kiwi Amelia Watkinson and Australian Ellie Salthouse will be bringing the heat, with both coming in off the back of victories at IRONMAN 70.3 Melbourne and IRONMAN 70.3 Fortaleza respectively.
From Germany, Challenge Vieux Boucau champion Caroline Pohle will be a force to be reckoned with, as will Lucy Buckingham of Great Britain.
In the men’s race, the competition is equally stacked, with double Olympic champion Alistair Brownlee just one of a host of big names on the start list, as Olympic bronze medalist Henri Schoeman and short course star Marten Van Riel also feature.
Alistair Brownlee took the lead early in the run
From the long course world, Italian Gregory Barnaby and Polish star Kacper Stepniak have both finished on middle distance podiums this season, with Spaniard Antonio Benito Lopez another talented European with a killer run.
Danish Team BMC rising talent Thor Bendix Madsen is a name to look out for, as is his fellow countryman Mathias Petersen, who earlier this year won IRONMAN Austria and also finished third at IRONMAN South Africa.
Finally, just a month after starring in the Super League Triathlon Championship Series, short course athletes Emil Holm, Max Stapley and Daniel Dixon will hope they can shake things up against an established list of long course professionals.
Prize Money: What’s on the line?
The prize purse on offer this weekend is $75,000 – with the winners collecting a $12,000 share of that total.
In addition to money, there will be a total of six qualifying slots for the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship, with two for the women and two for the men in Taupo next year.
The total funds will be paid ten-deep, as follows:
Following the recent significant changes to the PTO’s World Ranking System, the status of a race will play a notable part towards the ranking points that an athlete can earn, with those points determining the year-end world ranking position and thus, potentially, a share of the $2million bonus, which will now be shared by the top-50 athletes, rather than the top-100 of previous years.
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