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