Ballarat Ironman 70.3 champions to defend titles

Annabel Luxford and Matthew Pellow will defend their titles in the Ironman 70.3 Ballarat on Sunday, December 11.

DEFENCE: Annabel Luxford will be hoping to emerge from the swimming leg in Ballarat in a prominent position. Picture: Getty Images

DEFENCE: Annabel Luxford will be hoping to emerge from the swimming leg in Ballarat in a prominent position. Picture: Getty Images

Luxford goes into the race as favourite after an up and down year that saw her compete in the world ironman championships in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, for a second time.

“I had some heart arrhythmia issues in Kona, which prevented me from finishing the run.

“It was very disappointing as I felt like I’d put together a solid swim and bike.

“I got off the bike in fourth,” she said.

“Although I wasn’t as fatigued physically after Kona due to not finishing, I was still pretty mentally exhausted after the preparation.”

Luxford said she also needed to get her heart checked out to see if it was safe to be training and racing.

“I got the all clear from the cardiologist and started back training-slowly.

“I’m working four days a week at the moment, so I can’t say it's the best prep I’ve had leading into a race. In saying all that, though, I’m itching to get back on a start line in Ballarat,” she said.

Luxford’s biggest competition looks set to come from Katy Duffield, who is hoping to finish of an injury interrupted year on a high.

Duffield said she was excited to be finishing the year in Ballarat!.

“I've visited before and heard great things about the race, so I'm looking forward to experiencing it for myself,” she said.

“I've heard great things about the actual course and hospitality of the town in Ballarat. It's always nice to be in a place where the town embraces the race.”

 I've also seen some pictures from last year, and it looks pretty spectacular.”

Pellow will run into the likes of Geelong’s Peter Kerr, who has made the switch from short course racing to Ironman 70.3, Luke Bell and Tim van Berkel, and shape as major contenders.

AT A GLANCE

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 9

3pm-7pm: expo at Pipers By The Lake

4pm-7pm: athlete check-in

4.30pm-7.15pm: athlete briefings start

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 10

6.45am-7.45am: Ironkids check-in at Pipers By The Lake

8am: Ironkids race start

9am-4pm: expo in Windmill Drive

9.30am: Ironkids presentation

10.30am-4.30pm: compulsory overnight kick check-in in Windmill Drive

11am-4.30pm: athlete check-in at Pipers By The Lake

11.30am-4.15pm: transition tours and athlete race briefings

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 11

6am-5.00pm information desk at  Pipers By The Lake

6am-7.15am: transition open at Windmill Drive

7.30am: professional male race starts at Olympic rings

7.33am: professional female  race starts at Olympic rings

7.40am: wave start - age groups  at Olympic rings

4pm: presentations at Pipers By The Lake

4.45pm: world championship roll down ceremony