Rebecca Clarke Set for IRONMAN World Championship Debut

Friday 30 September 2022

Auckland professional triathlete Rebecca Clarke is preparing to take on the best in the world when the 2022 VinFast IRONMAN World Championship returns to Kona, Hawai`i next week. 

Clarke will make her IRONMAN World Championship debut when she hits the water in Kailua Bay next Thursday morning, having qualified for the iconic event by finishing second at IRONMAN Australia in May. 

“I’m very excited to be lining up at the?IRONMAN World Champs in Kona, I've been looking forward to this event for?nearly five months now and?now it's nearly here. I feel more excited every day,” said Clarke.  

“Training has been going really well and I have done a lot of heat preparation to get ready for the event. I spent several months in Girona where they were having consistently hot days, on average 37 degrees, with some days reaching 40 degrees. It felt really tough at first and I had to adapt sessions accordingly,” she said. 

As well as being the oldest IRONMAN race in the world, Kona is renowned as being one of the toughest. Conditions on the big island test even the most experienced athletes. 

“I am expecting tough conditions, this course has heat, humidity, changeable winds, and no shade on the run. This is my first-time racing, but I did travel to Kona in 2018 to watch so I have some experience of the course. The swim course is great, and it really suits me being a strong?swimmer having?a non-wetsuit swim and I love ocean swimming, and if it's a bit rough even better.  

“I think you have to be really strong mentally on the bike as I've heard you?can hit some intense?winds and feel like you are not travelling, and other times be motoring with the tailwind. Then keeping cool on the run, as much as possible, will be key,” said Clarke.  

The 33-year-old is an experienced half distance athlete but has only completed a handful of IRONMAN races since 2019.  

“A successful day will be having my best performance over the IRONMAN distance under the conditions, executing my race plan and being in the race in terms of being competitive and of course enjoying it. I feel I race?best when I don't put too much expectation on myself on a certain result.  

“If I race well then I know regardless of the result I will be happy with my performance. The calibre of the field is insane, and I?believe it is the biggest women's field in history so to be part of that is special and?racing my first Kona even more so,” she said. 

The event returns to its traditional home in Kona, Hawai`i for the first time since 2019, with racing to be split over two days for the first time ever, with the women’s professional race taking place on Thursday 6 October and the men’s professional race on Saturday 8 October.? 

“It's quite historic to have two days at the World Champs for the first time and I think it adds another layer of excitement and makes it an even bigger event,” said Clarke.  

Clarke will be the sole Kiwi in the women’s professional field at the 2022 IRONMAN World Championship but can take inspiration from strong New Zealand performances in Kona over the years.  

“It's always an honour to represent New Zealand and proudly rep the Kiwi flag. We have a strong history in the event firstly with Erin Baker a former winner, Joanna Lawn with multiple top five and top ten performances, and Gina Crawford too. To perform well and carry on that history will mean a lot and hopefully inspire more New Zealand females to race long distance triathlon,” said Clarke. 

Tune into live race-day coverage of the 2022 VinFast IRONMAN World Championship triathlon globally via IRONMAN Now™ available on Facebook Watch, YouTube and Twitch.

For more information about the 2022 VinFast IRONMAN World Championship event, please visit
www.ironman.com/im-world-championship.

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