For just the seventh time ever, triathletes will flock to Austria this weekend for the 2013 Ironman St. Polten race, scheduled to commence on Sunday morning and cover the full 70.3 miles of the swim, bike and run contest.
Thousands of participants of all ages, shapes and sizes will travel to St. Polten for Sunday's World Triathlon Corporation race, as the 2013 season continues in Europe with one of the younger triathlons on the circuit today.
Only six other events like this have been held in St. Polten so far, but the results have been wildly successful so far. The event continues to grow in popularity and the sports' top stars flock to Austria each year to try and be the latest winner on both the men's and women's sides.
Just 45 minutes out of Vienna, there's a full slate of action that will include fun events for the participants both leading up to and after Sunday's race, but the ultimate prize remains—crossing the finish line in record time.
We've got you covered below with all the information you need to be an expert on this race for years to come.
When: Sunday, May 26, at 1 a.m. ET
Where: St. Polten, Austria
Length: 1.9 km swim, 90 km bike, 21.1 km run; 113 km or 70.3 miles
Live Stream: Ironman.com
|2012||Filip Ospaly||Julia Gajer|
|2011||Filip Ospaly||Karin Thürig|
|2010||Filip Ospaly||Yvonne van Vlerken|
|2009||Chris McCormack||Sandra Wallenhorst|
|2008||Massimo Cigana||Yvonne van Vlerken|
|2007||Michael Goehner||Erika Csomor|
2013 Start Times
*Start times via the event's official site.
The swimming portion of the race is actually quite unique.
Starting off at Viehofner Sea, the participants will make their way around the lake in a rectangular fashion. Before completing the four-sided shape, they will leave the water for a short dash across the road to Ratzersdorfer lake, where the second half of the swimming portion will begin.
Slightly shorter than the swim in Viehofner Sea, the triathletes will move in a straight-line fashion during their time in Ratzersdorfer lake, where they will hit the buoy and return back to the exit point before beginning the 90 km bike part of the race.
The bike portion of the triathlon is easily the most difficult distance and slope of the afternoon.
Leaving the transition period of the swim section, racers will saddle up their bikes for a grueling run on motorways across Austria, including the majesty of Wachau and parts of the course taking the riders through the Danube—another mind-blowing sight that helps keep racers unfocused on their tiring bodies.
After one last ascent up the hill in Obritzberg, the bike portion of the event will conclude and the final stage of the three-part race will begin.
A half-marathon, the 13.1-mile "sprint" to the finish line, will begin after the biking portion of the contest is complete. The event arena, where the finishers will cross the tape after two laps, will be run through five times en route to the finish.
Here's a complete description of what the run is like for those competing (via IronmanStPolten.com):
The first lap will lead through the event arena, where all spectators find place to finally sit down and wait for their athletes to welcome them on the Finishline. After leaving the event arena, one lap will be run on the track of NÖ Landessportschule. From there, the area will be left to Dr. Adolfo Schärf Straße, which leads to the eastern shore of Traisen.
The running course continues along the river, until a bridge will be reached, which has to be crossed over, to get to “Regierungsviertel”. A loop will be ran along some government buildings, to reach western shore of Traisen and again, along the Traisen, athletes will run until they reach a wooden bridge, not far from the event arena, where they had started.
That lap will then be ran again.
To the victor go the spoils, and the spoils this year include 750 points on the Kona Pro Rankings and a $10,000 prize to the professional man and woman who cross the finish line first. After reading about this course, that number seems like a small buried treasure compared to the toils of taking one's body through 70.3 miles in anywhere from four to five hours.
Then again, it's why these athletes are so great in their sport.
Speaking of athletes, the contenders on the men's side don't get started without mentioning Philip Ospaly, who has won three-straight times at this race and will look to capture his fourth as the reigning champion in the field.
Others in the hunt include Eneko Llanos and Bart Aernouts, the one-two finishers from the Ironman race in Mallorca earlier this year. Andi Boecherer will be in Austria; he has struggled some this season but figures to factor in the race if he's in top form.
Don't sleep on Ruedi Wild of Switzerland, either, who finished 39th in the 2012 Olympic Games but has shown some promise as his career continues to flourish late. Wild would be a dark-horse candidate to crack the top five.
However, you don't bet against Ospaly at this event, and the 2010-12 champion will be expected to outlast the field for a fourth-straight time for most of the afternoon. If he doesn't it would be a big story in the professional ranks.
The women's defending champion, Julia Gajer, will also be back to defend her 2012 crown in this event.
The top two finishers from Mallorca on the women's side are also heading to the starting blocks for the St. Polten, as Lisa Hütthaler and two-time champion Yvonne Van Vlerken are both listed as participants in the race this year.
Daniela Ryf, who won the London Triathlon last year, is another name to watch on the women's side, where Lucy Gossage, Holly Lawrence and Anja Beranek all figure to factor into this crowded field on the fairer gender side.
The two former champions might be the favorites, but the women's side has been quite close for most of the 2013 season, a trend that could continue in this race on Sunday in Austria. Gear up for an exciting few hours of action, as these competitors prepare to accomplish one of sports' most amazing feats together.
*Information and images from Ironman.com, IronmanStPolten.com and Tri247.com was used to compile this report.
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