WTC Press Release. Two-time Ford Ironman World Champion Craig Alexander might have “only” finished fourth here last year, but he will certainly be amongst the favorites on Saturday. Fresh off an impressive win at the Marine Corps Ironman World Championship 70.3 (pictured – photo courtesy ASI) just over three weeks ago, Alexander, as always, arrives in Kona in spectacular shape.
Alexander’s year, though, has hardly been easy. He was forced to pull out of Ironman Australia in May due to illness, but bounced back with a solid win at Ironman Coeur d’Alene and then, of course, there was his second 70.3 World Championship win in Vegas.
We caught up with Alexander before that race – here are a few quotes from that interview:
I didn’t have a chance to race much during the first part of the season. My focus was always on having a strong back end of the season. By this time last year I had raced eight or nine times. It was different scheduling this year. You can’t bank on getting sick. You have to take the silver lining out of it and make the most out of it. I felt that even though I didn’t have the chance to race Ironman Australia, I’d done all the training for it, so I had all that fitness there. It was just a matter of getting healthy.
It could be a blessing in disguise – I’m definitely under-raced.
Last year it was hard not defending the title, but you’re not going to win everything. It was no secret that a lot of the boys got together – Macca wrote in his book that he’d been discussing with the guys all year a strategy to, for the lack of a better expression, partner up in the race.
I am still very proud of the race I had last year – I think it was the best I could have had on that day. I fell a little short of the podium, fourth place, and it was the first time I’ve finished off the podium in Kona. It’s still a record I’m really proud of. I don’t look back at that race with any regret at all.
My season last year was, apart from’07, one of my best. I won seven out of the ten races I did. All top level races with top competition. I guess I fell a little short in Kona, but I still had a great race.
It was an interesting month after Kona last year. It obviously wasn’t the same high as you have when you win. I wouldn’t say I was depressed, but it was a little bit of an empty feeling. When you win everyone wants to talk to you … it was a lot quieter. It was probably good. You can’t win every year forever, you just do your best every year. That’s what I did last year. I’m really proud of my race last year – it was the best I had on the day.
I took it as a complement – if that’s the length that they had to go to, and they had to plan it all year, I will take it as a complement. I think it shows the strength and consistency that I’ve shown at that race (Kona). I think people respected the level that I was going to bring and what it was going to take to beat me.
Last year was a very strategic race, which I hadn’t experienced before. All three of those guys on the podium last year had great races – Andreas and Marino as well. Andy and Marino will be back this year – I suspect they’ll be hungry and motivated. Rasmus Henning will be back (and be) very motivated. Frederik van Lierde, Lieto – there are so many guys. It’s always the same – we always talk about what a great field it is.
To be honest, I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about my competition, other than I have a lot of respect for them and I just presume that, like me, they’re going to bring their “A” game. I know that all these guys are going to be super fit and super pumped up to race, and I need to match that level or else I’m going to get rolled over.