Colorado Pros Prevail in Kona
For the second year in a row, Jan Frodeno and Daniela Ryf dominated the world’s biggest triathlon stage with back-to-back wins at the IRONMAN World Championships on the Big Island of Hawaii.
Frodeno had challengers breathing down his neck all day, particularly runner-up Sebastian Kienle, and had to work hard to take the win by less than four minutes in 8:06:30. Kienle took second in 8:10:02, and Patrick Lange completed the German sweep of the men’s podium with his third place finish in 8:11:14.
Ryf, on the other hand, destroyed the women’s field, using her epic bike strength to set herself up for a huge lead, finishing in 8:46:46. She broke the course record and won by almost 24 minutes. Carfrae took second in 9:10:30, and Heather Jackson rounded out the podium in third with a time of 9:11:32.
Our Colorado pros pulled their weight all day and came up big on the sport’s biggest day. Check out how your favorite Colorado pros fared on the Big Island.
If there is any athlete that can get off the bike 22 minutes down from the lead, clip past 99% of the field, and capture second place on the day, it’s three-time IRONMAN World Champion Mirinda Carfrae. And that’s exactly what she did last weekend.
Rinny turned in a swim time of 56:44 and a bike split of 5:10:54, setting her up in a solid position to run down the rest of the field. Carfrae turned in the second fastest women’s run split of the day in 2:58:20 and was one of two women athletes to go sub-three hours.
After a heartbreaking decision last year to pull the plug during the bike due to an injury, Carfrae came back looking strong and speedy, with the crowd behind her every step of the way. Congrats on another Kona podium finish, Rinny!
After his winning performance at the IRONMAN African Championship South Africa, there were probably a lot of people excited to see what Ben Hoffman would do against the world’s best. And boy did he deliver.
Hoffman was the first American to hit the finish line in the men’s race to grab fourth place in a time of 8:13:00, less than two-minutes behind third place. Hoffman, who finished second just two years ago, proved that his success in Kona is real and that he performs big on big days.
Hoffman’s day started with him in the second group on the swim, hitting T1 after 48:55 in the water, which he followed with the third fastest bike split of the day in 4:28:06. Thanks to his 2:51:45 marathon, Hoffman was able to finish strong for his second top-10 finish in the last three years!
In her first year of IRONMAN racing, and her first-ever IRONMAN World Championships, Alicia Kaye has shown she can hang tough with the very best. Her swim of 52:49 made a splash, putting her in the mix with the front runners right from the start. She followed it up with a bike split of 5:12:54 and stayed dangerous all day on two wheels. Alicia held on during the marathon for a strong 3:40:30, helping her finish 23rd on the day in 9:51:25. Not a bad first crack at the big show for Ms. Kaye!
For the second year in a row, Boulderite and Team Red, White & Blue athlete, Tim O’Donnell, proved that he can race Kona fast! O’Donnell was among the leaders all day from start to finish thanks to his ability to dig deep and withstand the heat. O’Donnell’s 48:12 swim catapulted him to the large group of 12 who came thrashing out of the water and up the steps into T1.
From there, O’Donnell pushed his biking legs, keeping him in the lead pack from start to finish as he headed into T2 not far behind the two leaders. O’Donnell would hang tough through a couple of place changes, but keeping him within striking distance of the top-10 all day. His 2:55:01 run split helped him hit the famous Ali’i drive in a stunning sixth place on the day!
There aren’t as many triathletes as consistent and dominating as Andy Potts. The former University of Michigan swimmer has finished fourth in Kona the last two years and, although he didn’t three-peat a fourth place finish this year, the World Championship veteran held on strong for an 11th place finish in 8:25:35.
We saw Potts exit the water into T1 in the massive lead group after a super swim of 48:02 before getting on the bike where he grinded out a forceful 4:35:46. We’re not exactly sure what happened, but Potts seemed wrecked as he was heading into T2, limping a little bit at the start of the run. Even after hitting the pavement, Potts still turned in a steady marathon time of 2:56:56. For Potts, this is probably an “off” day in Kona, but we’re still impressed!
You would think he might be exhausted from his abundance of racing throughout the year, but Matt Russell could be called the “Energizer bunny” of triathlon. Not only does the guy race a lot, but he turns in top notch performances. Russell was an outstanding 12th place this year in Kona, his best finish to date, and was less than 30 seconds from 11th place. Russell, who seems to race well in the heat, kept that trend going in Kona as his swam a 54:02, biked 4:33:08, and ran a 2:54:24.
Mary Beth Ellis
Although Mary Beth “MB” Ellis moved to Boston earlier this year, we still claim the Boulder-trainee as our own. Ellis announced her retirement while in Kona during her Breakfast with Bob segment and we are happy for her, but sad we won’t catch her out on the race course come next October. MB wrapped up her professional career with a solid 14th place finish, while toughing it out on the hot and humid Queen K. Congrats on an amazing career, MB!
Fabio Carvalho: 43rd place, 10:41:23
Tyler Butterfield: DNF
Tim Don: DNF
Paul Matthews: DNF
Callum Millward: 36th place, 9:06:35
Tim Van Berkel: 19th place, 8:35:27
Yvonne Van Vlerken: DNF
Congrats to all of the pros, whether they finished or not, for qualifying for the IRONMAN World Championships. We’re glad you live and train in Colorado, either all year or just for a bit. Enjoy a little rest and we look forward to watching your next race!