Triathletes who begin at the Sprint-distance level and aspire to race the Olympic distance remain confident during the small incremental increase in training and strategy needed to compete at the next level. The same gradual progression in difficulty holds true for Olympic-distance triathletes who advance to the Ironman 70.3 level. In stark contrast, there remains a 70.3-mile disparity between the Ironman 70.3 and full-length Ironman race that prevents scores of professional triathletes from advancing to the Ironman.
Triathletes will use competition at the Ironman 70.3 level as a base throughout the season before raising their training intensity for one specific Ironman event. In order to make this leap of faith, an athlete must be completely dedicated to training and race strategy while training twice as much as before. This may all change in the near future with the introduction of the Triathlon One O One series which launched last week in Bradenton, Fla.
Swim: 1.86mi (3km)
Bike: 80.6mi (130km)
Run: 18.6mi (30km)
Total: 101.06 miles (166km)
Although this distance is not new to the world of triathlon, the fact that the series is slated to expand next year and total 20 events worldwide by 2010 will have an impact on the industry. Offering a distance that bridges the gap between half and full Ironman will act as an incentive for Ironman 70.3 contestants to take another step forward. This may also create a level playing field for competition between Ironman and Ironman 70.3 specialists. The series is too young to predict which group will excel but it is certain that the $50,000 professional prize purse and the Triathlon One O One Championship featuring a $150,000 professional prize purse will lure plenty of contestants to the starting line.