Welcome to beautiful Cozumel
Kevin Mackinnon offers up some numbers about Sunday’s race
Cozumel, Mexico has to be one of the world’s most popular tourist spots. Proof of that statement could certainly come from the fact that eight cruise ships have docked here over the last day or so, each with thousands of tourists who probably had no idea there would be an Ironman on the island in a couple of days. Well – maybe not all of them. Ironman 70.3 75-79 champion Marcos Alegre happened to be on one of those cruise ships today, no-doubt enjoying a well-earned break after his victory in Vegas (by an hour) in September.
Add that group to the roughly 2,300 athletes here to compete at Ironman Cozumel, and you have one busy spot. Registration is well under way now, athletes are just finishing up at the pre-race meetings and later tonight will enjoy the carbo load dinner, too.
As expected, it’s hot here on the island that sits just off the coast of Mexico, close to Cancun. The temperature, though, isn’t expected to be too hot on Sunday – a high of 79 Fahrenheit (26 C) is what they’re predicting in the forecast now. There’s even a chance of some showers, which might cool the athletes off a bit during the run, too.
So here are some of the stats for the race on Sunday.
There are 41 pro men registered and 20 pro women – we’ll have a pro-preview in our coverage tomorrow.
60 different countries are represented here in Cozumel (popular vacation spot, do you think? 506 are from Mexico, over 900 are from the US.
Of the 2,325 athletes registered, 1,768 are men and 557 are women.
Men’s 35-39 is the largest male category with 412 competitors.
Women’s 30-34 and 40-44 are tied for the largest of the female categories with 116.
Scott Divelbiss is the youngest competitor – he’s 19. Laura Acevedo is the youngest female – she’ll turn 21 at the end of December.
Karen Aydelott is registered as our oldest competitor, but I’m guessing she won’t be here on Sunday since she just won her age group in Arizona last week. Germany’s Georg von Schrader turned 74 yesterday and is the oldest male competing.
Good morning from Cozumel! It's a beautiful day here at Chankanaab, where the swim takes place. They are just introducting the professional athletes right now - they will get started at 6:40 this morning.
The pros are about to get underway.
The pros are now on their way. The water temperature is 27.3 C (81.1 F) - needless to say, wetsuits aren't allowed!
The pros seem to be dealing with a bit of a current right now as they swim towards the first turnaround. Last year Andy Potts led out of the water here in an impressive 45:17 - we're not likely to see anything that fast this year.
As the age group race gets started, we can see the pros heading down to the other turnaround of the swim course. There is one athlete clear by about 25 m of a group of six. Then there's another group of six or seven behind them by another 50 m.
The first athlete went through 1,500 m in 18 minutes, which is about a 44 or 45 min pace.
My guess is that it might be Balazs Czoke leading the way right now - while Stephan Vuckovic is a strong swimmer, he typically likes to swim in a group and not get clear.
Leading the way in the swim now is Brazil's Luiz Francesco Ferreira. He's flying through the course and is well clear of a group of about six.
The lead age group athlete appeared to have gone through 1,500 m in about 18 minutes, too - there's a strong current that's helping along the long stretch of the course - things might slow down a bit once the athletes make the last turn and start swimming back to the swim exit at the Chankanaab center here.
The currents seem to be wreaking havoc with everyone's line as they try to take the quickest route to the finish here - the pros have weaved back and forth a few times, but now appear to have figured out the best line back to the swim finish.
I posted a picture of Patrick Evoe here this morning - he's one of a few pros who have done all three Ironman Cozumel events. One of the others, of course, is the only woman to have won this event, Yvonne Van Vlerken. Word is that she got stung by something earlier this week, but has recovered enough to be able to race.
Ferreira ended up having to go back to get around a buoy, which allowed the rest of the group to catch up with him. Right behind him out of the water was Brandon Marsh.
Stephan Vuckovic just exited the water - he's about 2 minutes behind the main group of leaders. We should have splits momentarily.
LUIZ FRANCISCO FERREIRA (#36) led out of the water
Behind him were:
* BRANDON MARSH (#26)
* CHRISTIAN RITTER (#44)
* MATHIAS HECHT (#56)
* BALAZS CSOKE (#55)
* HORST REICHEL (#25)
* ANDREY LYATSKIY (#14)
Oops - false report on our women's swim leader. First out was Tami Ritchie, closely followed by Simone Benz.
Ritchie's split was 48:53 - last year Yvonne van Vlerken swam 56 minutes here, but she's going to be behind that today - we've yet to see the defending champ and we're at the 58-minute point.