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Thu 18th Jul 2019
Vanhoenacker out of Ironman New Zealand
Posted by: John Levison
Posted on: Thursday 18th February 2016

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Marino Vanhoenacker withdraws from Ironman New Zealand

13-times an Ironman Champion already, Belgium's former Ironman World Record holder Marino Vanhoenacker will have to wait a little longer for the opportunity to add a 14th win to his C.V.

Scheduled to race Ironman New Zealand in just over two weeks time (March 5th), his Pewag team ( have confirmed today that "During his last run workout in Belgium before his departure to New Zealand, Marino has unfortunately sprained his ankle... Marino's goal, to be the first athlete ever who win an Ironman on each continent is still upright. He will try to achieve this later (in the season)!"

Britain's Joe Skipper (who is also racing this weekend at Challenge Wanaka), is one of the Pro's Marino was set to race in Taupo.

Related Article - Marino Vanhoenacker: still hungry for wins

Having conquered North Amercia (Florida, Canada), South America (Brasil), Europe (Austria, Frankfurt), Asia (Malaysia) and Africa (South Africa) in previous Ironman victories, a win Taupo would have completed the Continent set (I'll leave you argue over whether New Zealand sits in 'Australia', 'Oceania' or other - interesting YouTube video!). Until Ironman arrives on Antartica, that one is really not feasible either...

So, what does that leave this year as options?

  • Ironman Australia (Port Macquarie), 1st May (P-2000, $50,000 purse)
  • Ironman Cairns (Asia-Pacific Championship), 12th June (P-4000, $150,000 purse)
  • Ironman Western Australia (Busselton), 4th December (P-2000, $50,000 purse)

Having already won an Ironman European Championship (Frankfurt) and South American Championship (Brasil), adding another regional championship title (Asia-Pacific) might be another attraction, as it also comes with triple the prize purse of Port Macquarie or Bussleton. Against that, perhaps, is that it may potentially impact with any plans for a major European summer event.

Related Article - the fastest bikers in Ironman

Alternatively (as we are talking records...), Marino is currently tied with Chris McCormack on four, for the most sub-eight hour career iron-distance races. If continuing with über-speed is a motivator, then Ironman Western Australia could well be an attraction - especially given what Luke McKenzie achieved there in December.

Whatever direction his season takes, you can always be sure that a Marino race is worth watching. As he told me in January:

"I've definitely lost out on a lot of podium positions in my career which I might have gained by being a bit more conservative – but then again, I don't think I've ever lost a race that I could have won. I want to go for the win and that's not going to change."

Marino Vanhoenacker's Career Ironman Wins

Ironman Florida
Ironman Austria
Ironman Austria
Ironman Austria
Ironman South Africa, Ironman Austria
Ironman Malaysia, Ironman Austria
Ironman Austria
Ironman Frankfurt (Euro Champs)
Ironman Canada
Ironman Brasil, Ironman Austria

(Note, Marino did actually win 'Ironman New Zealand' in 2012 - but that was the year that the race was delayed by 24 hours and held as a 70.3 due to a severe weather warning).

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