This Sunday Challenge Gunsan-Saemangeum will once again host a professional field over the 226km distance for the first time since pre-covid. A number of strong professional athletes have traveled to South Korea to compete over the 3.8km swim, 180km bike and 42.2km run.
In the men’s race, Australian Caleb Noble has his eye on the top spot of the podium having already won in Asia this year at Challenge Taiwan. Ranked 85th in the PTO rankings, he is easily the best-ranked male but he will have American Kevin Portmann and Eddie Vining (AUS) in particular to contend with as dangerous outsiders.
Lower ranked but still interesting names at the start of Challenge Gunsan-Saemangeum include Per van Vlerken (GER), Ben Hamilton (NZL), Joel Wooldridge (AUS), Simon Billeau (FRA), Eneke Elosegi (ESP) plus Guy Crawford (NZL) racing his first long distance in four years.
Among the women, eyes are mainly on Magda Nieuwoudt. The South African athlete, who seems to be on a serious breakthrough this year, recently won Ekoï Challenge Fréjus and now seems intent on winning Challenge Gunsan-Saemangeum as well. The women’s pro field is not huge and Nieuwoudt should expect competition mainly from American Amy van Tassel and Australian Kate Bevilaqua.
Swimming in the warm Yellow Sea, riding between lush tropical islands, smooth fast roads, the world’s longest sea wall and the welcoming South Korean culture all add up to the perfect race destination in Asia, with both middle and long distance options on offer and a sell-out field of over 1,000 athletes. The start gun goes off at 6:30am local time on Sunday 4 June with live updates available at www.challenge-family.live. For further information, visit www.challenge-family.com/korea/