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photo: Paul Phillips/Competitive Image

2012 Ironman World Championship Set for Saturday

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Triathletes from across the United States and around the world are headed to Kona, Hawaii, to compete in the 2012 Ironman World Championship, set to take place on Saturday, Oct. 13.

Held on the Big Island since 1981, the event features a 2.4-mile swim in Kailua-Kona Bay, followed by a 112-mile bike and a 26.2-mile run ending on Ali’i Drive.

The action begins with the elite men on Saturday morning at 6:30 a.m. HST (12:30 p.m. ET), with 2011 champion Craig Alexander (AUS) headlining the field. Andy Potts (Colorado Springs, Colo.) returns as the top U.S. finisher from 2011, and is joined by Jordan Rapp (Thousand Oaks, Calif.), Matthew Russell (Scottsdale, Ariz.), Michael Lovato (Boulder, Colo.), Timothy O’Donnell (Boulder, Colo.) and Greg Bennett (Boulder, Colo.).

The elite women start at 6:35 a.m. — a change from previous years when the elite men and women began the race at the same time. In 2011, six U.S. women finished in the top 20, led by Caitlin Snow (Brockton, Mass.) who finished ninth and is slated to race on Saturday.

Other 2011 returners are Kelly Williamson (Austin, Texas), Mary Beth Ellis (Boulder, Colo.), Linsey Corbin (Missoula, Mont.) and Amanda Stevens (Colorado Springs, Colo.).  Meredith Kessler (San Francisco, Calif.), Amy Marsh (Austin, Texas), Sarah Piampiano (Cumberland, Maine) and Jessica Jacobs (El Paso, Texas) will also represent the U.S.

The age group wave begins at 7 a.m. and will feature top amateur endurance athletes and inspiring performances throughout the day. In 2011, nearly 1,800 age-groupers from 18 to 81 took to the challenging course, and 11 U.S. athletes won their respective divisions.

“I’m looking forward to racing in Kona — it has been a dream of mine since I was a kid to race in the Hawaii Ironman,” said John Jenkins (Absecon, N.J.), who is competing in his first Ironman World Championship. “Dreams do come true, you just have to do the work and believe in yourself.”

Multisport fans can log on to Ironman.com on Saturday to track the race via IronmanLIVE. A live webcast, live blog and athlete tracker will be available on a computer, tablet or smartphone and coverage begins 30 minutes before the start at 6 a.m. HST (12 p.m. ET).

For more information on the 2012 Ironman World Championship, visit ironman.com.

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