East County Sports

Oceanside 70.3 opens Ironman Season

2023 LOCAL COVERAGE / Ironman 70.3 Oceanside


By Nick Pellegrino
ECS Senior writer

OCEANSIDE – For an atghlete who often competes in locales like Utah, Colorado, Idaho and British Colmunbia. Kurt Madden of San Diego knows how competiing in the cold can feel.

But San Diego, too?

“At our opening event in Oceanside the air temperature before the swim was 46 degrees and water was 56.2 degrees,” Madden recounted. “Yes, it was cold.”

2022 American Ironman champion Kurt Madden

Throw in the lack of even fair training conditions in San Diego County due to rain over the past month, Madden, the defending American triathlon champion in the Men’s 65-69 age group, Madden only finished ninth (eighth among USA athletes) at the season-opening Ironman 70.3 Oceanside on Saturday (Apr. 1).

It’s only a starting point, yet Madden knows what it will take to become not only the best in the United States, but his ultimate goal of regaining a world championship.

“The bike had a few challenges due to the recent rain; however, the 2,700 feet of climbing brought up the HR  [heart rate] a little bit and it nice to get,” said Madden, who began is professional career as a swim coach in East County.

Besides, this race was “only” 70.3 total miles. The ultimate challenge is a full Ironman course, which is double in length, capped by the world championship in Hawai’i.

Plus, the frigid swim course was moved at the last minute, moving from the beach near the Oceanside Pier to the Oceanside Harbor, which was filled with different currents and other challenges, including a golf-like dog-leg in the center of the course.

Afterward, the bike ride and the half-marathon run was on the typical rolling hills of the area.

The top seven finishers were from the USA, including four newcomers to the division, who just turned 65. Next was an Australia, then Madden, who finished with a time of 5:46:13.

The age-group winner was Mark Knaepss, winning by by more than 18 minutes in 5:07:32. It was his best finish since placing second at the 2019 Indian Wells 70.3 in La Quit at Men 60-65.

The US schedule for Ironman started with events in both Oceanside and Galveston, Texas, over the weekend.


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