On December 13th-15th at iconic Daytona International Speedway®, CHALLENGEDAYTONA presents its epic CHALLENGEDAYTONA Festival. Defending professional champions, Sarah Haskins (USA), Alicia Kaye (USA) and Meredith Kessler (USA) have all announced their return in what is anticipated to be a tight battle to the 1st place podium finish. The men’s pro field is sure to produce dramatic finishes. The men’s pro field includes, Andrew Starykowicz (USA) who finished in second place in the inaugural CHALLENGEDAYTONA 2018 event along with, two-time Olympian Tyler Butterfield (BER) and Olympian Andy Potts (USA).
“CHALLENGEDAYTONA is thrilled to have all of the top women champions returning to the professional field and an exciting men’s field to lead athletes in competition around iconic Daytona International Speedway, says CHALLENGEFAMILY CEO, Zibi Szlufcik. “Not only are these women and men phenomenal athletes, they are inspiring the next generation of athletes in triathlon. We are so proud to have such a competitive field at CHALLENGEDAYTONA. We encourage everyone to join us in cheering on both pro and amateur athletes alike during the CHALLENGEDAYTONA Festival weekend.”
Sarah Haskins (USA) is the defending champion having been the dominant women’s CHALLENGEDAYTONA 2018 champion with the fastest splits in all three disciplines and a 5-minute margin to her victory with a time of 2:42:52. Alicia Kaye (USA) and Meredith Kessler (USA) finished in second and third place respectively, with times of 2:47:58 and 2:50:35. All three women are exceptional swimmers, which adds competitive excitement from the very first stroke.
Haskins, a multi-time triathlon champion, represented Team USA in the 2008 Olympic Games and won gold in the 2011 Pan American games. She now faces powerful competition from Kaye and Kessler. All three women are known for their tenacious grit and prowess in the sport, which will make 2019 a tough battle between the returning champions.
Andrew Starykowicz (USA), the fastest man ever on a full-distance bike course made a second-place podium finish in CHALLENGEDAYTONA 2018 with a time of 2:28.58 finishing just over a minute behind his first-place contender. Andy Potts (USA) began his athletic career as a swimmer. He is a force to reckon with in the swim and is sure to put the pressure on Starykowicz out of the gate. The run segment is anticipated to produce a dramatic finish due to the running strength of Butterfield. Both Starykowicz and Potts will feel the thunder of Tyler Butterfield. Butterfield recently posted an impressive 1:11:56 run time during the middle distance competition in Boulder.
The defending champions will race in the “Daytona Distance Under the Lights” format, which will include a two-lap, 1-mile swim; a 15-lap, 37.5-mile bike; and an 8.2-mile run—all within the Daytona International Speedway property. The entire course is optimized for viewing, with opportunities for spectators to get up close and cheer for their favorite pros midway through the swim, all along the bike and run legs, and at each transition juncture. The unique Daytona Distance Under the Lights race, exclusive to the professional field, will begin at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, December 14th. The start time provides prime viewing for age group athletes competing in either Saturday’s Sprint Distance events or Sunday’s Middle Distance events. The late start is also designed to create an unprecedented sensory experience, as the lights at Daytona International Speedway – normally reserved solely for NASCAR racing, sports cars and Supercross – will illuminate the track at 5:30 p.m., just as the Florida sun sets and the pros speed around the track.
Bill Christy, CEO at Cognitive Kinetics and executive producer of CHALLENGEDAYTONA, was instrumental in securing the opportunity to race under the lights at the track. “This will be an electric experience for these athletes and inspiring thousands of spectators in the speedway,” says Christy.
Anyone interested in participating in the numerous events offered at CHALLENGEDAYTONA – including Junior Challenge Triathlon race, Sprint and Middle Distance Triathlons, Relay categories, Duathlon and Aquabike events, and 5K/10K run/walk events – is invited to visit www.challenge-daytona.com for more information and to register. The top six male and female finishers in each Middle-Distance Triathlon age group will qualify for entry in THECHAMPIONSHIP, to be held in June 2020 at the x-bionic sphere in Samorin, Slovakia.