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Alistair Brownlee to pursue ironman dream

AAP logoAAP 12/12/2016 Mark Staniforth

Alistair Brownlee will put plans for a third Olympic triathlon gold medal on hold to pursue his lifelong dream of competing in the World Ironman Championships in Hawaii.

Brownlee, who pipped brother Jonny to the title in Rio, is to take a step back from the Olympic format over the next two years and concentrate on establishing himself in endurance level events.

And while the 28-year-old has not ruled out returning for Tokyo 2020, he insists his long-term target remains to mount a challenge in his sport's most iconic event.

"For the next two years I'm going to pursue things away from Olympic triathlon, because it's important I have a different focus," he said on Monday.

"I've been to three Olympics and I can't say I won't definitely be at a fourth but I'd like to try something different over longer distances and run a marathon some time.

"All triathletes have the ambition to do the almost mystical Ironman World Championships in Hawaii. It's very unlikely that I could do it in the next two years but I could build up my endurance then maybe go back to it after Tokyo as a 32-year-old."

An Ironman triathlon consists of a 3.8km swim, a 180km cycle and a full marathon - almost four times further than the distance covered by Brownlee in each of his Olympic triumphs.

Brownlee, who is one of 16 athletes on the shortlist for this year's BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award, is enjoying his first extended period away from his sport in 15 years - and has been mountain-biking with friends.

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