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By Chase Squires / Oct 3, 2016

Transamerica Triathlete Ben Hoffman Goes for the Championship

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For Transamerica triathlete Ben Hoffman, 2016 has been an outstanding year.

But one event still looms large: The global spectacle that is the October 8 Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii.

It’s a grueling race that tests the world’s best athletes. It’s a 2.4-mile rough-water swim, followed by a 112-mile bicycle race, followed by a 26.2-mile run, all in treacherous crosswinds and intense heat. And it’s a race Hoffman came oh-so-close to winning in 2014. At the end of 140.6 miles of intense competition, over a span of more than eight hours, he finished second, 4 minutes, 55 seconds behind the winner.

This year, the 33-year-old Boulder, Colorado, resident won the Ironman Africa Championship and notched top-5 finishes at the half-Ironman distance in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho; Monterrey, Mexico; and Buenos Aires, Argentina.

And then there’s Kona, which demands training. Weeks of hard training.

“I’m doing this because I want to race and I want to win,” Hoffman said in a video interview for Transamerica. “And certainly, you can’t go out and train six or seven hours a day if you’re not self-motivated and you don’t actually want to win.”

Hoffman said he’s eager to get on the course in October but acknowledged overcoming the mental aspects of this ultra-distance event is as big a part of training as developing the physical capabilities.

“When I think about my training and how it has evolved over the years, I think that a lot of it has to do with just sort of opening my eyes to what was possible for myself,” he said. “I may have, when I first started, felt that a 100-mile bike ride was something that was almost insurmountable or hard to wrap my head around, at least. Now, I routinely go out and ride well over 100 miles multiple times a week and sometimes up to 160 miles.”

After a year of training and racing, Hoffman steeled himself for the final weeks of hard work heading into the championship.

“All signs are that I’m on track to have my best fitness at the right time of year, and I think coming off of a big win in an Ironman this year I have the self-confidence,” he said. “You’re always working on the mental side, but that I feel is on track as well. I’m just excited, and I think that’s the biggest thing, knowing that instead of being overwhelmed by the race, perhaps I’m actually just excited to get out there and see what I can do on the day. And I think if I do my best race, it will put me in contention for the win.”

Watch:

Viewers can watch Team Transamerica athlete Ben Hoffman go for the ultimate endurance championship at the Ironman World Championship live on Ironman.com October 8, or watch the award-winning, condensed coverage on NBC Sports at 2:30 p.m. ET on December 10.

Follow the action on social media (#IMKona) on Facebook, Twitter, and Instragram.

Keep up with Hoffman on his own Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram feeds.

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