Our collaborator on Ultradistance issues, Marcos Bonilla, tells us about the return of one of the toughest tests in the world, the Ultraman from Hawaii.
Ultra-distance triathlon lovers… WELCOME BACK TO THE UM OF HAWAII!
After breaking the ice after the Pandemic in 2022, this year it continues to continue; the discipline of the rare (as I usually say), the “ugly girl of triathlon”, the discipline that no one follows, and to which only ultra-distance lovers pay attention.
Only a few of us who are in love with triathlon are waiting every year to see that magical return to Big Island, and that departure from Kona that makes your hair stand on end... I hope that each year you are more encouraged because it is a spectacle worth following.
What is an Ultraman?
Ultraman is one of the most demanding and challenging competitions in the world of sports. It is not only a test of physical endurance, but also of mental and emotional strength.
Stretching beyond the boundaries of the traditional triathlon, this event tests athletes in three disciplines: swimming, cycling and running.
Day 1: Swimming and Cycling
Ultraman begins with a swimming leg that generally spans 10 kilometers. This distance, which far exceeds that of the Ironman triathlon, is just the beginning of the challenge.
After completing the swim, the athletes face a 145-kilometer cycling stage. This first day is a true test of resistance and skill in the water and on the road.
Day 2: Ultra-Distance Cycling
The second day takes cycling to another level with a 275 kilometer stage.
This distance, which must be completed in a single day, is comparable to some of the longest stages of cycling's grand tours.
It is a monumental challenge that requires exceptional physical and mental preparation, as well as a well-planned nutrition and rest strategy.
Day 3: Double Marathon on Foot
The third and final day of Ultraman is perhaps the most brutal. Athletes must run a double marathon, covering a distance of 84 kilometers.
This final stage tests the endurance, tenacity and spirit of the competitors, pushing them to the limits of their capabilities.
More than a Competition: An Adventure of Personal Improvement
Ultraman is more than a competition; It is an adventure of personal improvement.
The athletes who participate in this event are not only looking for victory, but they are also looking to push their own limits and discover what they are capable of.
It is both a physical and emotional journey, where the camaraderie between competitors and the support of support teams play a crucial role.
37 issues of Ultraman
On November 24, 25 and 26, the 37th edition will be held. This year only 25 triathletes will participate, a low attendance compared to the 42 last year; Although it is also true that the last year before the pandemic, 2019; There were only 21 triathletes. Remember that it usually ranges between 45 and 50 triathletes…
But hey, it continues to be celebrated, which is not little. And... be careful: Although this year there is little competition, I can tell you that it can be interesting due to the possibility of new records, if you are interested, keep reading; and I'll tell you why.
For now; let's get to the point; We will analyze the favorites, the favorites, the Spanish and the classics; and I will try to provide you with data of interest to take into account so that those of you who want to follow Ultraman are in context and have good references when you see how the data and times of the triathletes are produced in the stages.
I will also allow myself some predictions that I make every year, taking advantage of the level of success that I have had in the last ultraman to shed some light.
The list of those chosen
I always start with me “list of the chosen ones”, the favorites to win. And yes, once again we find ourselves with important absences... And just like last year, (and much to my regret) we reduce the list to two:
Jordan Bryden (37-year-old Canadian) world and UM champion of Canada in 2019.
Y Simon Cochrane (39-year-old New Zealander) champion of UM Australia and UM Canada in 2023. He has not been world champion, but…
Pay attention to the data: In Australia he broke the world record in the ultraman distance, with (and please read carefully, those of you who have ever done an ultraman and know what it costs to do this distance): 19 hours 48' and 47" (How are you doing?).
And now that I have just given you this information, answer me a question: Do you think it will beat Hawaii's record? And, by the way, reflect on another. Don't tell me that it's not worth following this event just to know if it succeeds or not?
The question of: “Who do you think will win UM Hawaii this year?” I'll save it because after telling you this, I imagine you will think like me; and you will give Simon as a favorite.
So I will give you more information about this triathlete so that you can think about what he may be able to do in Hawaii: It is worth breaking down the times he did in Australia to break the record:
- 1st stage: 2H27' in the swim and 3H57' in the bike.
- 2nd stage: 7H18'.
- 3nd stage: 6H06'.
A real blast, right? Well, at the UM in Canada he broke the (Canada) record in all stages. Only he did not beat him in the total time of the ultraman, and in the 10 km of swimming. Pay attention to these times too:
- Record of the 1st stage: 2H22' in swimming and 3H52' in cycling. Total: 6H14'.
- Record of the 2nd stage: 7H28'39”.
- Record of the 3rd stage: 6H19'.
Anyone who understands a little about these distances appreciates the feat of this man but, what not everyone will know is how demanding and difficult the UM of Canada is in the bike sector and the running sector, he is possibly one of the toughest ultraman in the world. world, if not the most.
It is true that swimming is in a lake and very easy, but the unevenness on the bike and in the race makes this test very hard, how can we end those times. So, I avoid further comments regarding the favorite to win this year in Hawaii. He is the favorite.
To comment a little on the competition that Simon will have; to say that Jordan Bryden broke the swimming record at the UM of Canada in 2019 with; 2H19´40”, he is a great swimmer.
But, in my opinion, I don't think he can even shade Simon. Although he is part of the triathletes who would be in the first group in the world championship, if they were the best; he would surely be behind the “usual best”…
In 2019 he won, but there was low attendance and it was added that the two triathletes who had better times than him were injured or sick...
Rob Gray champion in 2017 and runner-up more than once; he was bad, and Arnaud Selukov (one of the best ultraman in the cycling sector, champion of Australia 2016 and 3rd in Hawaii 2017) amputated the thumb of his hand months before going to Hawaii.
Therefore, we confirm that the level of competition depends on many factors depending on the year, but this… I am afraid that very possibly Simon Cochrane; will have no rival.
Regarding the female category; We have 8 triathletes, less than 10 last year, but a good number compared to other years.
My bet for this year is Amy Robitaille (Canadian, 44 years old). With my favorite to win this year there are also several curious facts:
She is the UM Canada 2022 champion with 24 hours 47', and being 1st ahead of the first man. She is amazing though; She is not the first to achieve this feat, I had the honor of witnessing in person in 2015 how Kate Bevilaqua was the first woman in history to win an Ultraman over the men who participated that year.
But to add value to Amy, it is fair to highlight that she broke the record for the 2nd stage by bike with 8H45'19”.
My second favorite is Vanuza Maciel (53-year-old Brazilian) champion of the Arizona Ultraman 2022 with 24H40'30", breaking the record of this UM in the 2nd stage: 10H44'55", and in the double marathon of the 3rd stage: 8H45'39" . As I have written in the title of this article; You are already seeing that she can be an ultraman of records.
My third favorite is Andree-Anne Girard (35-year-old Canadian), who although placed 4th in the 2022 Canadian Ultraman with 28H04', was a better time than the German Anja Hooton who was runner-up in the 2023 Canadian UM with 32H00'. As you can see, this depends a lot on the triathletes who qualify each year.
And finishing with the women, I would love to mention my dear Lucy: Emma Lucy Centeno (55-year-old Mexican), whom I planned in her beginnings in ultraman, although she did not complete Canada 2019 and Florida 2023, I can say very proud; she completed Canada 2023 finishing in a creditable 3rd place. I wish you all the luck in the world Lucy. From Spain we will be cheering you on!
The Spanish: All the luck in the world and much encouragement fellow triathletes!
This 2023 we have three: Fernando López 50 years old, who identifies as Spanish, Uruguayan and American, so; I put him in with ours; He also placed 6th in the UM of Florida 2023 and can play a great role, due to the lack of competition at the top; I even predict a better position for him than in Florida.
Ismael Franco Folgueira 54 years old, he came 8th in the 2019 Canadian ultraman and I have already told you that this ultraman has a lot of merit for its difficulty, so I am sure he will do well in Hawaii.
Miguel Ángel Domínguez Cano 53 years old, we know that he is a regular collaborator in teams of great Spanish professional drivers, and we hope that this experience in the elite and at the top of the competition will be extrapolated to the ultraman, but this time with him being the protagonist. You will do great!
As for classics from every year, we also have big absences; Juan Craveri (17 ultraman), Gary Wang (20 ultraman from Hawaii), and some more that are close to ten.
On the other hand, if last year we had the oldest triathlete at 67 years old (Diane Anderson), this year we have the youngest; the canadian Zack Powell With 24 years.
Anyway; I hope that this Ultraman is as exciting as ever, and that more and more of us follow an event like this that still needs to be more valued within the world of Triathlon and that, I am sure, in a not too distant time; you will earn “your place from him.”
Where to see it live?
Cheer up, you can follow it through https://ultramanworlds.com/ , who knows triathlete friend; the same when seeing it; “the ultraman bug” bites you.
ALOHA, OHANA, KOKUA.
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