Race preview: Els Visser, Lisa Norden and Fenella Langridge to battle it out at Ironman Western Australia

Els Visser as the highest seed (Picture: press release Ironman)

Some of the top female professional triathletes from around the world will race for the IM Western Australia title this Sunday. Sunday’s race in Busselton will see nine female professional triathletes representing seven countries battle it out over a 3.8km swim, 180km ride and 42.2km run. Dutch athlete Els Visser is the top seeded female and heads into the event off the back of a strong last 12 months.

This time last year Visser was second at Ironman Western Australia, before going on to win Ironman New Zealand in March and most recently winning Challenge Canberra last weekend.

“I’m excited to be back in Western Australia, and I’ve had my most successful year to date as a professional triathlete,” said Visser. “I hope to finish my season with a solid performance in a race I enjoy doing. 

“It’s a highly competitive field on a flat and fast course. Anything can happen, I am sure we will all push each other to get the best out of ourselves,” she said. 

This Sunday will be the third time that Visser has raced at IM Western Australia in recent years, with the 33-year-old feeling at home in the South West. “Ironman does such a fabulous job staging this event in an iconic location,” she said. “I had such a memorable experience last year that I’ve now made this a must do race on my annual calendar.

“The course spectators and volunteers offer such support and inspiration that makes it worthwhile to do such an event, plus my hosts are the best people in the world,” said Visser.

Sweden’s Lisa Norden will be out to make sure that Visser doesn’t stand on the top step of the podium on Sunday afternoon, with the multiple-time Ironman race winner looking forward to getting out on course.

“I’m very excited over the fact I get to pin on a number one more time this year,” said Norden. “I took a small break after Hawaii then really enjoyed getting back into it again. I love racing and I love being in Australia, so this is the best possible combination for me to end my season. 

“It’s been awesome, the local triathlon community has been so welcoming and I’ve been staying at a homestay that has been looking after me so well. Training is so easy and fun down here that it hardly feels like work,” she said.

The London 2012 Olympic Games silver medallist is excited by the chance to experience the atmosphere in Busselton on Sunday. “The course looks great and I love a sea swim, but I think it’s mainly the Australian passion and knowledge of the sport that makes this one so special,” she said. 

Fenella Langridge has raced across the globe this year, with the British athlete keen to end the year on a high in Western Australia. “I’m excited, nervous, but ready to go, ready to end the season on a positive note, I’ve enjoyed our little tour Down Under and keen finish off on a high note,” said Langridge.

“I’m not going to lie at the beginning on the year one of my main aims was to win a full distance race so I am here to win but the other girls I know are super fit and super strong at the moment so they’re going to put up a good fight,” said Langridge. “If I just get my Nice slot then that would be great but I’m going to hopefully be fighting at the front all day.”

Langridge has been in Australia for over a month, and her stay has included taking to the start line at the famous Garmin Noosa Triathlon in Queensland.

“It’s been amazing, I suppose you don’t really know what to expect coming to a new country, but it’s surpassed all expectations,” she said. “It’s beautiful, it’s diverse, and the community and way of life over here is quite something, we’re definitely planning to come back.

“It’s really cool and good to see the community of triathlon over here is just as big as in Europe, it’s just a shame it’s so far away so people struggle to come over here and experience these races because they are great.

Also lining up in Busselton on Sunday is Queensland-based Dutch athlete Lotte Wilms who this year claimed victory at Ironman Australia, with the sole Australian in the women’s professional field Chloe Lane.

Lane recently finished third at IM Wisconsin and in October made her professional debut at the IM World Championship in Hawaii.