Stars revealed for first full distance race of the IRONMAN Pro Series in Texas

After a thrilling opening event at IRONMAN 70.3 Oceanside earlier this month, the IRONMAN Pro Series continues on April 27 with its first full distance event at IRONMAN Texas.

Racing in The Woodlands, next weekends event doubles as the North American Championship and as a result offers additional Kona/Nice slots as well as a bumper prize purse of $175,000.

Attracting some of the biggest names in the sport, we take an initial look through the start list for the professional men and women’s races at the end of the month.

Lange leads the charge

Coming in as the top seeded athlete, German Patrick Lange will hope to bounce back from a disappointing 16th place finish in Oceanside, as the 37-year-old continues his bid for the IRONMAN Pro Series title.

Patrick Lange at the 2023 IRONMAN World Championships
[Photo Credit – Donald Miralle for IRONMAN]

Without a victory since winning IRONMAN Israel back in 2022, the race in Texas will be a great opportunity for the two-time IRONMAN World Champion to underline his credentials over the full distance before the crux of this season.

His competition in The Woodlands will be fierce, with last year’s runner-up Rob Wilkowiecki starting his season in Texas. In 2023, the Polish athlete was on the podium at three events and finished in the Top 10 at Nice.

Other, more established names that will look to contend with Lange for the win include Kiwi Braden Currie and Brit Joe Skipper, both of whom finished inside the Top 10 a fortnight ago in Oceanside.

Finally, Americans Matthew Marquardt and Trevor Foley will look to keep the title stateside for a third year in a row, after Ben Hoffman took the tape in 2022 and Rudy von Berg won here last season. Marquardt, third behind von Berg and Wilkowiecki 12 months ago, is a real podium threat.

Will Matthews make a golden return?

When fit, Kat Matthews is the favourite for most full distance races she enters and Texas is no different, but it remains to be seen if the Brit will have overcome a calf tear sustained at the Miami T100 by race day.

Kat Matthews ticker tape IRONMAN Texas 2023 [Photo credit: Kyle Rivas / Getty Images for IRONMAN]
[Photo credit: Kyle Rivas / Getty Images for IRONMAN]

The winner here 12 months ago, Matthews was struck down by the leg injury in her first race of the season, and has since been documenting her race against time to get fit again and make the start line in The Woodlands.

If she is absent, IRONMAN New Zealand third place finisher Jocelyn McCauley, who also finished third in Texas last season, will be one of the main favourites, alongside 2023 runner-up Maja Stage Nielsen of Denmark.

Britain’s Fenella Langridge, who is targeting the IRONMAN Pro Series this year, is another contender and will be one of many athletes looking to back up a solid performance in Oceanside with another result in the US.

Fenella Langridge 2 winning GWM IRONMAN Western Australia 2023 photo credit IRONMAN
[Photo credit: IRONMAN]

American Alice Alberts, who won IRONMAN Lake Placid and IRONMAN Maryland in 2023, is perhaps the dark horse for the podium, with fellow Americans Daniella Lewis and Lauren Brandon also capable of finishing well on their day.

Finally, from Down Under, Kiwi duo Rebecca Clarke and Hannah Berry will hope to feature in their first race of the year outside the Asia-Pacific region, as will Australian Penny Slater, who races in Texas for the first time.

Read More

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *