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How the West was Won: True and Skipper take Ironman Arizona

Plus: What's the deal with those crazy shoes?

Good morning everyone!

Are we dealing with a super-shoe arms race? Potentially! We've also got a race breakdown from Ironman Arizona, and how to hack pool swimming for open water gains.

Thank you for being here.

-Matt Sharpe, newsletter editor

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Rankings ITU

Super-shoes, super problems

What is it: At the Ironman World Championships in October the eventual winner, Gustav Iden, competed in a pair of prototype running shoes from the ON Running brand. As reported in Triathlete Magazine, the stack height of the shoes, which is the height of the material between the shoe and the ground, was higher than in a typical racing shoe. It was 50mm vs the standard 40mm. 

Why it matters:

  • World Athletics, the global governing body of Track and Road running have banned shoes with a stack height greater than 40mm.

  • World Triathlon has not aligned with World Athletics rules. As a result, World Triathlon and Ironman athletes do not have restrictions on their footwear.

  • There are currently no plans to regulate footwear in advance of future major events including Ironman World Championships and the Paris 2024 Olympics.

Quick thought:

Triathlon is certainly a sport that has always embraced innovation. Aerobars, equal pay for women and men, and swimming wetsuits come to mind. In this instance, it may be a bridge too far. We can only imagine the enhancements that will exist within this form of “shoe doping.”

  • At the Tokyo Olympics athletes with extensive resources competed with unproven 3D printed aerobars. World Triathlon subsequently banned them ahead of the 2024 Olympics. 

  • Like the swimming super suits a few years ago, perhaps we’ll see shoe regulations pre-Paris? Or barring that, crazy fast times!


📢 Inspiration alert: Although Johnny Agar lives with cerebral palsy, he hasn’t let it slow him down. Together with his father Jeff, they've competed in over 200 Triathlons. And they have some big goals for next year. [CBS]

🕵️ No evidence? After a controversial penalty at the 2022 Commonwealth Games. Hayden Wilde and Triathlon New Zealand attempted to appeal for a second Gold medal. After a four-month process, they have decided to drop their appeal. [1News] 

🗳️ And the TriOscar goes to…Voting is happening now for the first edition of the Global Triathlon awards. Categories include the best male, female, and outstanding contributor among others. Head over to globaltriawards.com to cast your ballot. [220 Triathlon]

🤢 Something to stomach: Running with a full tummy can be rough, but is it worse than cycling full? A recent study from the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport debunks a common theory about this. [Outside]


How the West was Won: True and Skipper take Ironman Arizona

Following a tough showing at the Ironman World Championships, Sarah True (USA) made a strong statement with her win at Ironman Arizona. Joe Skipper (GBR) continued his incredible consistency of 2022 with his second Ironman win in Arizona. 

Women's Race

What happened: Sarah True from the USA took the win with a clinical performance against the stellar competition. 

It was no surprise to see super swimmer Lauren Brandon (USA) at the head of affairs during the swim. Onto the bike Brandon did her best to hold off a hard-charging Skye Moench (USA) who had True shadowing her for most of the bike. 

True and Moench headed out on the run together in what looked to be shaping into an epic iron battle. Moench was on the ropes following in True’s footsteps until about 10km of the run, where True began to pull away and didn’t look back finishing in 8:42:38. 

Key moment: True swam three minutes quicker than Moench, but was brought back by Moench early on in the bike. True was able to stick with Moench as she flew by, which ensured she was able to start the run on equal terms. 


  • 1st - Sarah True (USA) 

  • 2nd - Skye Moench (USA)

  • 3rd - Danielle Lewis (USA)

Matt’s take:

It was always going to be a battle between True and Moench. Both are incredible athletes with impressive resumes. Had Moench been able to blast past True early on the bike she may have had the time and space to take the W. Taking down Sarah True in a foot race is always going to be a big ask. 

Of note: The final spot on the podium went to Danielle Lewis (USA). An accomplishment in itself, but even more impressive given she had to stop for over 15 minutes with a flat tire. She would go on to set the run course record. 

Men's Race

What happened: With a world class effort in all three disciplines, Joe Skipper (GBR) was able to assert his dominance, and take the win at Ironman Arizona. 

Ironman rookie Ben Kanute (USA) was a close second out of the swim, and quickly moved to the race lead in the early stages of the bike. With an ever-improving swim Skipper, and Kristian Høgenhaug (DEN) crushed the initial lap of the bike, catching Kanute. 

Drama unfolded on the run as Kanute eventually caught Høgenhaug, who himself was caught by a hard-charging Matt Hanson (USA). Joe Skipper never looked back as he cruised to victory in a time of 7:46:00.


  • 1st - Joe Skipper (GBR)

  • 2nd - Matt Hanson (USA)

  • 3rd - Ben Kanute (USA)

Matt’s take: When Skipper exited the water only 3 minutes down, it was clear he in the drivers seat for a great race. And with fellow uber-biker Høgenhaug coming with him they were able to work off each other and put solid time into class runners like Matt Hanson. 

  • Pre-race favourite, Sam Long, exited the water at the same time as Skipper, and should have been able to ride with him. But early on he struggled to keep pace and finished the day in 10th. Certainly not what was expected pre-race. 

Other Results

Ironman Cozumel

  • Men’s race: Magnus Ditlev (DEN) used his cycling prowess to ride away from the field, finishing in 7:50:41. He picked up a slot for next years Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii. 

  • Women’s race: Gurutze Frades (ESP) took the win after dropping a 2:54 marathon to overcome a 20-minute deficit coming off the bike. She also claimed a Kona slot with the win. 

Upcoming Races

World Triathlon Championship Series Grand Final: Abu Dhabi

  • Ironman 70.3 Tiberias, Sea of Galilee│Nov 25 │Race Details 

  • Ironman Isreal Middle East Championship │Nov 25 │Race Details


"I felt pretty strong going into the race, I just wanted to pace it well and put it together. Until you cross the finish line you just don't know what's going to happen."

-Sarah True on her victory at Ironman Arizona [Arizona Republic]


Open Water, But Make it Pool

Swimming well in the open water is so important, but often neglected. Here are three hacks for pool swimming that will lead to better races in the open water 

👀 Sighting

  • Pick a spot to sight on the other side of the pool and take a sight every six strokes. Important not to lift your whole head, just the goggles!

🏋️‍♀️ Band only

  • Band only is brutal, but so good for you. Tie a band, or pair of goggles around your ankles, and focus on keeping your hips up. Start with 25's or 50's and build from there.  

⌛ Longer intervals

  • Extend your intervals to mimic swimming in the open water, which helps build strength and endurance. Cause there aren't walls in the lake!


📽️ Professional Triathletes Organization: The PTO has changed the game for professional triathlete racing and content. Check out this awesome behind-the-scenes view from their flagship event, the Collins Cup.

🎙️ Seacrest X Sodaro: Ryan Seacrest interviews recent Ironman World Championship winner Chelsea Sodaro. An inspiring listen with some great life lessons from the champ. 

🦸‍♂️ Ageless wonder: How does 88-year-old businessman and age group triathlete Garth Barfoot still enjoy Triathlon? Find out in this awesome interview!


It's Thanksgiving weekend in the U.S.A. And along with a holiday meal, and Black Friday deals, there is the long-held tradition of the "Turkey Trot." They're usually about 5k in length, and generally have more of a community vibe. I plan on running pretty hard, and I'm looking forward to experiencing my very first Turkey Trot on Thursday.  


Are you doing a Turkey Trot? Or did you race this past weekend? Send us photos or an update from your race, we'd love to feature it in a future newsletter. 


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