Feeling very grateful today. God truly gave me another chance in life.
I have my family, I can walk, the sharpness of my mind is starting to come back. I am physically and very emotionally hurt and shaken up but thankful for so many things. You can not see in the photo but I have stitches on the side of my neck over 7 inches long which was life threatening. Thank you for all of the people that were at the scene that quickly responded to me as I would not be here if it wasn’t for you. Always nice to have my friend and now Ironman World Champ @PatrickLange come visit me. Congrats to all on the day and remember each day truly is a gift from God. Thank you all for the support and even donating. I’m sure everyone has lots of questions but right now I’m going to spend my time with my family and recovering. I’ll try keep everyone updated on this as much as I can. Each day is truly a gift from God.
Per usual the #VoiceofIRONMAN Mike Reilly wrote a recap of IRONMAN World Championships 2017…
New this year – He handed off the microphone for a super special tribute.
I did something on race day I had never done in all my 169 IRONMANS. Something that probably could have been done with many other well deserving souls but I just didn’t think about doing it. A young man by the name of Nicholas Purschke was with us all week. He choose through the Make-A-Wish foundation to come to Kona to see the World Championship. This is a 12 yr old from the USA that could have choose to meet his favorite professional baseball, football, or basketball player as most kids his age would. But his wish was to come to IRONMAN! A wish he was granted as he is battling a deadly genetic disease called ALD that affects 1 in 18,000, most severely in boys. He was a charm all week, always with a smile meeting his heroes. Witnessing his positive attitude and joyful outlook was inspiring beyond words. Now what did I do. It was about 11:30 pm and Nicolas was with his family at the finish watching and cheering as we all were. The look in his face watching each finisher was priceless. The many times I looked his way I would get a little flutter in my heart. An adult thought of I hope Nicolas gets to tell his grandkids about IRONMAN and his day among his heroes. I walked over to him to give him a high five, he was above me in the VIP section. I found myself asking “Nicolas do you want to call the next finisher an IRONMAN?” He had a little look of shock on his face, he turned to his Mom as she was was shaking her head yes then back to me saying “Yes I would!”. I introduced the crowd to Nicholas and told them what we were going to do. They cheered their acceptance. I told him you have to be loud, you have to bring it from deep down, just let it loose, let everyone know the next finisher is an IRONMAN! I told him I would say the person’s name and then you let them have it. Here she came our next finisher, I called out her name and quickly handed the microphone to Nicolas and with a loud. clear, and passionate voice beyond his 12 years he roared ‘YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!”. Our finisher raised her arms and the crowd roared their immense approval. He absolutely nailed it and the look of joy on his face will be a look I take to my grave! NICHOLAS IN MY MIND AND I AM SURE EVERYONE’S “YOU ARE OUR IRONMAN!”
Fellow American pro Jesse Thomas was riding behind Matt Russell and witnessed the accident.
“He had just caught me about 5-10 min before and was in front of me heading back into town from Mauna Lani at that first intersection that leads to Waikoloa,” said Thomas to Slowtwitch. “Tailwind section, haven’t looked but I’m guessing we were going well over 30mph, he was pushing hard. I saw a truck start to cross the intersection and thought, ‘that’s cutting it way too close’, then the next moment a van pulled out behind the truck to try to cross as well. It looked like the crossing guard was animated in some way, either trying to wave the van quickly through or trying to get it to stop, but I couldn’t tell what was happening in the brief moments it all went down. I sat up immediately and yelled “oh fuck!” Matt saw it too and sat up and hit his brakes but had probably less than a second to do so and the van was too wide to miss from his angle. He went straight into the side of it nearly full speed. Super loud crash, looked like bike parts shattering, etc…
Matt Russell’s wife, Gillian has shared this statement on Matt’s condition with us:
At this time, Matt remains in the hospital and he is getting the care he desperately needs.
Since the accident, Matt has had multiple procedures and surgeries to address the life threatening injuries he suffered Saturday.
While Matt is resting more comfortably than yesterday we are not out of the woods yet as Matt’s doctors remain concerned with the magnitude and severity of his concussion and vascular injuries.
Matt loves to race and I know he will want to get back when he’s able. However, it’s way too early to know if and when that may happen.
At this point we just want Matt home. Home with me and his newborn son – it’s going to take months of intense rehab to get him prepared for everyday life – and frankly the sooner we can get started the better.
I’m struggling to know what to share with you. There is so much. So much. Joy. Triumph. Sadness. Perseverance. Grit. Guts. Tenacity. The list is super long!
The results of the Ironman World Championships are not measured by a clock, or a place on a podium or by a Garmin. They are measured by smiles, tears and hugs. By racing and watching this race, we make huge deposits in the experience bank of our souls that serve us later in life.
It’s hard to share an epic event like this without using a cliche. I need to remember that to “narrow your focus broadens your appeal” and as one of the eyes and ears of 303triathlon, my “job” is to share with you and try to find relativity in this ocean of stories. Imagine you are on the pier and 2,400 boats appear on the horizon intending to land. Each one from a different place, maybe a different continent, maybe even from a country you didn’t know existed. Each boat carries stories and dreams and some are captained alone but most come with a crew. But they all have one goal. To finish.
Being in Kona for race week is like being on a captive island of history and tradition drawing these boats in like a compass faces north. The triathlon world focuses here for the week. Even if the Ironman distance is not your race of choice, the challenge of the sport clearly radiates here. Experts and those in the industry greet all of these boats, and in our case meeting legends like Bob Babbitt and Mike Reilly to share the history and meaning of this race just make the landing that much richer.
I encourage you to listen to those interviews to gain a true perspective on what happens here and what HAS happened here. What I have learned, and continue to learn each time I am here, is that to know the history, and to respect the race is essential to understand its epic nature.
With the focus on Colorado and our saturation of this race with 54 athletes toeing the line we have a lot share—and a lot to be thankful for. It feels like family. With all those boats landing and people scurrying everywhere, to latch on to a familiar smile, to know just a few stories is like finding a life preserver in rough unknown waters.
We at 303 see ourselves as a bridge to you. A place where you can see what happens when your friends and loved ones landed here with 2,346 other athletes. Yes some came here to win it all, and our local pro, Andy Potts, was the first American across the line. We in Colorado have a lot to be proud of.
The other 53 athletes persevered. We tried to share moments of each of their journeys and for any we may have missed, it wasn’t for lack of trying. And you made Colorado proud and it was such an honor to share your journey with our readers and subscribers a few thousand miles away. Even with technology of instant connectivity, it’s the intangible flow of like-minded energy and a love of this sport and a love of every journey we encountered, that hopefully rushed at the speed of light into your hearts. We hope you felt what we did, and sharing that and feeling such a wonderful community in Colorado at the “Super Bowl” of triathlon is what makes being at this race epic.
Be proud 303 Nation. We have the most amazing triathlon community in the world.
TAMPA, Fla. (October 6, 2017) – The IRONMAN Foundation® will distribute more than $125,000 in charitable giveback to non-profit initiatives and groups in the Kailua-Kona community in conjunction with the 2017 IRONMAN® World Championship, including a special initiative with YES Hawai`i to support local youth in the foster care system and granting a wish in partnership with Make-A-Wish®. This year’s grant funding brings the total awarded to $1.5 million across 1,100 Kailua-Kona non-profit organizations.
The IRONMAN Foundation will partner with YES Hawai’i, a nonprofit dedicated to empowering local youth in the foster care system by creating a community and support system through organized educational, recreational and social activities. Together they have planned an excursion event that will join local youth in the foster care system with IRONMAN athletes for a manta ray night snorkel tour. In addition, YES Hawaii will receive a $2,500 grant to sponsor its ongoing programs with local youth in foster care.
Make-A-Wish grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. These wishes have the ability to help wish kids not only feel better, but sometimes, even get better. The IRONMAN Foundation will host Nicholas Purschke, a 12-year old Make-A-Wish kid with Cerebral ALD (Adrenoleukodystrophy), a severe genetic brain disorder. It is Nicholas’s wish to attend the IRONMAN World Championship and meet his triathlon heroes because it is “amazing what these athletes do and they have inspired me during my journey. I’m a runner and athlete and I’m also very competitive and would really like to do an IRONMAN in the future.” In addition to meeting IRONMAN Foundation Pro Triathlete Ambassadors Mirinda Carfrae and Timothy O’Donnell, Nicholas will participate in several race-week events, including the IRONKIDS Keiki Dip-N-Dash and leading the United States delegation of athletes at the Parade of Nations.
The IRONMAN Foundation will also present a special grant for $1,406 to PATH Hawai’i at the 31st Annual PATH 5k and 10k run taking place on Sunday, October 8. PATH works with Hawai`i state and county, local leaders and community members to safely connect people and places on Hawaiian Islands with bikeways, sidewalks and pathways.
“We are truly honored to partner with these organizations to provide funding or support for their initiatives,” said Dave Deschenes, Executive Director for The IRONMAN Foundation. “Together we’re leaving a lasting impact and our IRONMAN legacy here on the Island of Hawai`i.”
Continuing the “We’ve Got Your Back(pack)” program launched in April of this year, volunteers at the IRONMAN Foundation booth inside the IRONMAN Village will prepare backpacks for local children in need. Backpacks provided by Travelway Group International will include school supplies and sunscreen provided by Wal-mart, water bottles from Gatorade, healthy snacks from Clif Bar and inspirational notes written by IRONMAN athletes. The backpacks will be presented to Kids Matter and YES Hawai`i to support their participating youth.
Thirty athletes from around the world will race in support of IRONMAN Foundation programs, including the IRONMAN Foundation Community Fund and Women For Tri®. Together they have raised a record-breaking $850,000.
The IRONMAN Foundation Community Fund provides community and volunteerism grant opportunities to non-profit organizations where IRONMAN events are held. In 2017, The IRONMAN Foundation will distribute more than $1.5 million in grant funding to support the needs of IRONMAN race communities across North America. Since 2015, Women For Tri has distributed more than $187,000 in grant funding to support female participation initiatives.
Ben Hoffman on Kona – “It’s a brutal savage race where anything can happen”
303Triathlon caught up with Colorado native and professional triathlete Ben Hoffman. Bound for IRONMAN World Championship in Kona, Ben talked to us about his training, Kona specific preparations, recent race performances, XTerra World Championships and more.
Three weeks from the Kona contest, Ben is in the middle of his biggest week (40+ hours) of training. He is a self-proclaimed volume responder and talked about some of his key workouts. This week’s training includes double-swims, bricks that include
160 miles on the bike followed by a 45-minute run, and a two hour run at 6 minute/mile pace. His heat adaptation training includes living and training in Tucson where he can train regularly over 100 degrees. His coach has prescribed specific sauna sessions – the exact frequency, duration and temperatures not revealed. Ben prefers to arrive in Kona one week prior to the race. “I’m better when I don’t get to Kona early. I like to finish my training in my own environment. The energy at Kona is amazing, but it starts to wear you down.”
We talked about how previous performances have prepared him for this year’s championship showdown. In 2014, Ben’s 2nd place finish in Kona was pivotal to changing his paradigm of what was possible. “In Kona, that component of self-belief is massive.  confirmed the belief and raised it to a new level…why not win? You have to trust yourself and know that you can contend with the best guys in the world.” Earlier this year, Ben came in 3rd place at Ironman Boulder 70.3 behind Tim Don and Matt Charbot. Just this past month he came in 2nd in a sprint finish at 70.3 Santa Cruz against Braden Curry of New Zealand. Ben raced both Boulder and Santa Cruz 70.3 without much of a taper. Ben plans to use these races in his preparation strategy, and get the proper rest before the big contest on October 15th. “I’ll try to represent Colorado and the USA and make everyone proud. Whatever is in there, I’ll try to get it out on the day.”
The University of Colorado triathletes who raced with Alessandro Zarzur will never forget his name. Now, neither will future generations of triathletes.
The trophy given out to the winner of the Oktoberfest Triathlon on Sunday will be renamed after Zarzur, a 19-year-old CU triathlete who was killed earlier this year in a bicycle crash in Sunshine Canyon.
The Oktoberfest Triathlon in Longmont is the last outdoor race of the year for the Rocky Mountain Collegiate Conference, which includes CU and other colleges from Colorado and Wyoming. The winning team used to be awarded the Collegiate Cup, but it will now be named the Zarzur Collegiate Cup.
Race Director Lance Panigutti is a former CU triathlete himself, so he heard the tragic news in May when Zarzur died while cycling up on Flagstaff Mountain.
“The team has always been near and dear to my heart,” he said. “So when it happened, I had a lot of people reach out and ask what we could do. I didn’t want something rushed; I wanted something that the team could really rally behind.”
So Panigutti told the team and Zarzur’s family about his plan to rename the race trophy after them, and they were immediately on board.
“Because it’s the last outdoor race of the season, we look at (the Oktoberfest Triathlon) as a nice big party,” he said. “We felt this would be a nice way to celebrate him, to have something every year to honor him.”
When she heard about the plan to rename the trophy after her son, Zarzur’s mother, Hanan, in Sao Paulo, booked a flight to be there for the race and will be there to present the trophy to the winning team…
Wow! What a difference one year makes. The Without Limits/5430 Sports Harvest Moon Long Course Triathlon was a completely different race than it was one year ago. If you saw any pics or read any race recaps from last year (2016) you’ll have seen bikes blown down in transition, the slip and slide blowing away, and white caps in the reservoir. The wind was insane last year.
This year, however, the temperatures and weather were pretty much perfect. It was slightly chilly in the morning but about 15 minutes into the race the sun popped out from behind the clouds, warmed up the air, and then went back behind the clouds, staying there for most of the rest of the day.
These conditions made for PRs by almost every single athlete that I talked to who did the race last year. I know the race companies and race director have nothing to do with the weather, but it was a pretty perfect day and both newbies and experienced athletes both agreed that this year’s race was one of the best ever in the 18 years since the race started.
The race this year had 8 waves, including a first-timers wave which helps introduce newbies to the sport and ease them into a less intimidating and less aggressive swim start. They are also recognized for their accomplishment as there is an entire category of awards just for the first-timer. This is a positive way to introduce new triathletes into the sport. I love that Without Limits has this option in all of their races!
The swim this year was ideal. The water was calm and the buoys were easy to spot as the sun stayed mostly tucked behind the clouds. I don’t wear a Garmin, so I personally don’t know the actual distance of the swim, but I heard from several athletes after the race that the swim with a little bit short of the 2,000 m standard for the long course distance. Most measured it at about 1500 m.
The bike course was also very easy thanks to partly cloudy skies, cooler temperatures, and very little wind on the course. The course is one of the fastest in Boulder, so for triathletes looking to ride a high mph average, this is a great course to test your speed on your bike. It’s also a perfect course for beginners who are doing their first half ironman distance triathlon, as the ride will leave your legs feeling a little fresher than many courses out there of the same distance.
We were also very fortunate on the run course as the temperature stayed in the low 70s. And the run being on hard-packed dirt was more gentle on the joints and muscles of the legs so again, a little easier for first timers, beginners, and those athletes wanting to test their speed. I also heard later in the day that the run course was about a half mile shorter than the standard 13.1 miles.
I spoke with 2 women after the race who used this as their first triathlon at this distance, and both were extremely happy with their experience. This race is small enough to make everyone feel included and a part of the community, but competitive enough to push even the most experienced athlete. I had a girl who I thought was in my age group blow by me on the 2nd lap of the run. I picked up my pace to try to stay with her, but couldn’t keep up. It ended up she was in the age group below me (phew) but that push helped me get to the finish line more quickly and took my mind of my hurting legs for a while!
There were a record number of Aqua-bikers at the race and this is the only Colorado race that includes a long course duathlon as an option!
There were 116 women, 218 men, 19 duathletes, 79 aqua bikers, and 17 relays who finished the race this year.
This was my 6th year racing the Harvest Moon Triathlon. I love that it’s in Boulder now and I love what Without Limits has done with the race. I will DEFINITELY be back next year! Hope to see you there!
303Triathlon recently caught up with Tim Hola before he headed to Chattanooga Tennessee for this past weekend’s Ironman 70.3 World Championship.
Tim lives in Highlands Ranch with his wife Nicole and two children, Connor and Spencer. Triathlon has been in the Hola family since his dad, Ken Hola, introduced Tim to it at age 20. Tim has always been competitive and he believes the height of one’s achievement is a product of the height of one’s goals. Tim talked about his goals for this season and the results that led to a USAT National Championship and qualifying for both the 70.3 and Ironman World Championships.
Tim cranked out a 4:38:23 finish at 70.3 World Championship in Chattanooga this weekend and will now set his sights on Kona in mid-October. This will be Tim’s 16th Ironman on the big island of Hawaii, showing he has the formula for training and competing at the highest level, while balancing work and family.
Tim competes at near-pro level, yet he is a working age-grouper facing the responsibilities and prioritization challenges of those who do triathlon for the passion and not for the paycheck. He gives us insights into how balancing his passion for triathlon with other priorities of a working age grouper and father. When it comes to balance, Tim describes the importance of “knowing your priorities, meeting your partner’s needs and communicating”.