Since 1998 Hawaiian Airlines has sponsored the "Double", awarding cash and free flights to the pro and amateur men and women who can conquer the challenges of the Ironman World Championship and the XTERRA World Championship (Oct. 28) in the fastest time.
There are several notable "doublers" in this year's field, including five-time winner Eneko Llanos, Ironman Mary Beth Ellis, former Japanese Olympic mountain biker Kenji Takeya, and last year's winner Pablo Ureta.
New among the brave souls who have committed to doing both Ironman and XTERRA is Carol Rasmussen, a 48-year-old from Denmark - who remarkably is in her first year of racing triathlon.
“My first triathlon was XTERRA Germany and I placed 1st. Things have been going great ever since,” said Rasmussen. “In my first Ironman, which was in Spain this spring, I qualified for Ironman Kona. I competed again at XTERRA Germany and won, so now with one year triathlon training I’m doing both world championships.”
Rasmussen started swimming after a bike accident six years ago that resulted in two fractured backbones. While she thought about getting into triathlon at the time, she continued bike racing.
“I have won a lot of different kind of races. Road racing in the French Alps and in Belgium, and I have won a lot of Danish MTB races - 12hour and 24hour races - and even placed 2nd in the Danish elite group although I am the grand old lady in Danish mountain biking and could be their mom.”
Rasmussen will be racing with the added adversity of an injured left Achilles, “but I hope I am feeling great on the 28th. If my body isn’t too tired from the Ironman I believe I will be able to end up on the podium at XTERRA - hopefully in first place.”
Inspired by XTERRA videos and the friendships she has made in the sport, anything is possible.
“I really can’t wait for the XTERRA, I think it is the greatest triathlon event and sport in the world.”
Here's a look at the tentative list of those that are racing the Ironman World Championship on Saturday before heading to Maui for some fun at XTERRA Worlds. We'll break down their times (and find out who we missed) from Ironman next week to see where they stand.
Name (Hometown) Division
Eneko Llanos (Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain) MPro
Sebastian Kienle (Hohenklinger, Germany) MPro
Mary Beth Ellis (Rehoboth Beach, Delaware) WPro
Jeff Bassett (Scottsdale, Arizona) Men’s 45-49
Patrick Clark (Aiea, Hawaii) Men’s 35-39
Erica Dueger (Concord, New Hampshire) Women’s 45-49
Brett Dunstan (Geelong, Victoria, Australia) Men’s 40-44
Rebecca Fondermann (Bonn, Germany) Women’s 30-34
Elisabeth Gruber (Redding, CA) Women’s 20-24
Carol Rasmussen (Karlslunde, Denmark) Women’s 45-49
Josh Rix (Melbourne, Australia) MPRO
Kenji Takeya (Misato, Japan) MPRO
Pablo Ureta (Huerta Grande, Argentina) Men’s 30-34
Thomas Vonach (Schwarzach, Austria) Men’s 40-44