KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii — From the top down, Australians now dominate the Hawaiian Ironman triathlon.
Most obviously, an Australian has won the men's or women's world title every year since 2006.
In 2010, Chris McCormack and Mirinda Carfrae made it a first-time double.
Craig Alexander is the defending champion and one of only four men to win the race three times or more.
Alexander, McCormack and Carfrae will all start as favourites.
But triathlon's ongoing boom in Australia is also reflected in the unprecedented number of age-group entries at Hawaii.
Saturday's (Hawaiian time) race will feature about 2000 starters, aged from 19 to 82, and 242 of them will be Australian, plus 33 from New Zealand.
World Triathlon Corporation (WTC) chief executive Andrew Messick said this was a record number from Australia in the event's history "by a mile".
Even more surprisingly, Australia is now the No.2 country for entries at Hawaii behind the US.