Could an American Win in Kona This Year?

From Triathlete.com
by Susan Lacke

The last time an American won the Ironman World Championship, My Big Fat Greek Wedding was showing in movie theaters. Kelly Clarkson had just won the first-ever season of American Idol, and the world was gearing up for the winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, UT. That was the year that American Tim DeBoom won in Kona with a time of 8:29:56. DeBoom’s time would be considered slow by today’s pro standards, set by a wave of Australian and German athletes who have inched ever closer to the sub-8 mark, leaving Americans in their dust. In the women’s race, the drought has lasted even longer, as an American hasn’t won since 1996.

Could 2018 be the year the USA takes back the Kona crown? This year’s American athletes provide some of the best odds for a Kona win since…well, Kelly Clarkson won American Idol. The top bets for an American victory in Kona:

Women

American Heather Jackson. Photo: Oliver Baker

Heather Jackson
The 2016 third-place finisher is hungrier than ever for the win. Her 9:02:29 finish in Kona last year was less than a minute behind third-place finisher Sarah Crowley, and the experience fueled her all-in mentality for 2018. Her wire-to-wire win at Ironman Lake Placid in July, where she clocked a 9:18:49, shows she’s in top form and ready to rumble.

Linsey Corbin
With 11 appearances on the Kona start line, Corbin has more experience at this race than anyone else in the pro ranks, male or female. Within those years are three top-ten finishes and countless lessons on mastering the Kona game. She’s the fastest American female in history, holding an Ironman record of 8:42:42. Her recent “back-to-basics” approach to training has focused on consistency, recovery, and balance. She went ahead and nabbed her Kona 2019 spot with a win at Ironman Wisconsin in September. Will the decision to race such a late 140.6 help or hurt her Kona chances? We’ll find out!

Jocelyn McCauley
In only her first pro race at the Ironman World Championships, McCauley finished 10th place in 9:21:08. She backed up that breakthrough race with a third-place finish at Ironman New Zealand in March, and has been laser-focused on Kona since, taking the lessons she learned in her rookie year to improve for her second go-around. She looked sharp at Ironman 70.3 Santa Rosa, where she finished fourth in a strong field that included three-time Ironman world champion Mirinda Carfrae.

Sarah Piampiano
Piampiano hasn’t finished off the podium in 2018—in five 70.3 and full starts this year, she’s taken five top-three finishes, including a win at 70.3 Lima and second place at Ironman Brazil. Can she keep the trend rolling in Kona? It’s certainly feasible—a look at her performance since turning pro in 2012 has shown a strictly upward trajectory, and Piampiano shows no signs of letting up.

Sarah True
The two-time Olympian made the jump to racing Ironman this year, and what a jump it was: True nailed her first-ever attempt at the distance, taking second place at the Ironman European Championship in Frankfurt with a time of 9:05:19. The first-place finisher? Defending Ironman world champion Daniela Ryf. True, who will be making her Kona debut this year, is a dark horse, but her history at both short-course and the 70.3 distance shows she’s got the chops to take on big names and high stakes.

 

Men

Ben Hoffman. Photo: Oliver Baker

Ben Hoffman
Hoffman is the closest America has come to the top step of the podium in recent years, taking second place in 2014. Though he’s had some stellar races since, including a sub 8-hour performance at Ironman South Africa in 2017, this year has been a bit of a mixed bag. A bike crash during the Cape Epic mountain bike race derailed his plans to defend his title at Ironman South Africa; Hoffman struggled from the start of the race and finished in a personal worst time of 12:06:48. He finished second at both 70.3 Boulder and 70.3 Santa Cruz.

Timothy O’Donnell
With his third-place finish at Kona in 2015, O’Donnell is most recent American male to podium. His 8:00:54 performance at this year’s Ironman Asia-Pacific Championship was good enough for fourth place in a strong field that included many Kona qualifiers for this year. His superpower in Kona seems to be heat management—where others wilt on the bike and run, O’Donnell thrives.

Andy Potts
At 41 years old, Potts is the elder statesman of the race, but he can still mix it up with the young guns. Potts was the top American finisher at last year’s World Championship, clocking an 8:14:13 (including a blistering 2:50:27 marathon) to take seventh place. He’s come close to the top spot before, finishing fourth in 2014 and 2015, and is known for tweaking his routine to accommodate what he learns each time he races Kona. Will 2018 be the year he finally cracks the code?

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AN EVENING OF CHAMPIONS AND INSPIRATION: ANNUAL IRONMAN WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP BROADCAST PREMIERE

Event to take place on December 5th at New World Stages in New York City with proceeds supporting The IRONMAN Foundation Community Fund

TAMPA, Fla. (Nov. 28, 2017) — On Tuesday, December 5, 2017, IRONMAN and The IRONMAN Foundation will host an “Evening of Champions and Inspiration” at the IRONMAN® World Championship Broadcast Premiere presented by UnitedHealthcare, taking place at New World Stages in New York City. Sharing the hosting duties for the evening’s affair will be “The Voice of IRONMAN” and this year’s IRONMAN Foundation Ambassador Team Captain, Mike Reilly along with veteran national sports broadcaster and multiple IRONMAN® 70.3® finisher Shannon Spake, as they introduce guests to the magic of the 2017 IRONMAN World Championship, which took place on October 14 in Kailua-Kona, Hawai`i.

The red-carpet gala will feature a premiere screening of the annual NBC broadcast that captures the fierce competition and compelling storylines of the 2017 IRONMAN World Championship and a moderated Q&A panel from athletes featured in the show. Event attendees will get a first look at the broadcast special before it airs on NBC, December 9th from 2:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. ET (check local listings for time and channel).

The event will also include food and cocktails and a meet-and-greet with inspirational age-group athletes as well as current and former professional athletes. 2017 IRONMAN World Champion Patrick Lange will be joined by top American finishers Heather Jackson, Andy Potts, Liz Lyles and Ben Hoffman and IRONMAN Foundation Ambassador athlete Tim O’Donnell. Special guests will include original 1978 IRONMAN finisher Dave Orlowski as well as renowned sports commentator and long-time narrator of the NBC Show, Al Trautwig.

“We are excited to return to New York City to screen the IRONMAN World Championship NBC special ahead of its premiere on December 9th. Every year this broadcast special gives viewers an extraordinary view into a truly amazing event and this year’s IRONMAN World Championship is no exception,” said Christopher Stadler, Chief Marketing Officer for IRONMAN. “We are honored to work with The IRONMAN Foundation as we continue to grow this red-carpet event and silent auction to a larger audience than we have ever had before.”

The IRONMAN Foundation, the charitable arm of the IRONMAN organization, has provided more than $50 million in support since inception. Proceeds from the evening will benefit The IRONMAN Foundation’s Community Fund, which provides grant funding to nonprofit organizations in race communities where IRONMAN events are held.

In addition to the funds raised from the event’s ticket sales, The IRONMAN Foundation will hold a silent auction with a variety of unique items including this year’s IRONMAN World Championship finish line tapes, Hawaiian Ukuleles autographed by Professional IRONMAN athletes, and tickets to a Broadway Musical, just to name a few. Online bidding will begin on Wednesday, Nov. 29 and is open to event attendees and the general public by visiting the following link – IRONMAN Foundation Silent Auction.

There will also be an opportunity to bid during the live auction at the premiere on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to race at the 2018 IRONMAN World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawai`i as well as the 2018 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship in Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa.

“The IRONMAN Foundation is honored to benefit from this event, which exemplifies excellence and inspiration in the sport of triathlon. Funds raised will allow us to continue to leave a tangible impact in the communities where IRONMAN events are held across the world,” said David Deschenes, Executive Director of The IRONMAN Foundation.

For more information and to purchase tickets to the event, please visit www.ironmanfoundation.org/konapremiere/. For more information on IRONMAN and The IRONMAN Foundation, please visit www.ironman.com and www.ironmanfoundation.org. For media related inquiries, please contact press@ironman.com.

Ben Hoffman on Kona – “It’s a brutal savage race where anything can happen”

By Rich Soares

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. [2014] 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.”

IRONMAN 70.3 Boulder Pro Race Wrap Up!

Below you will find everything involving the professional male and female athletes from Saturday’s race, from the pro panel talk the day before the race, Tim Don’s emotional finish chute moments with his family, all the way through 303Radio’s finish line interviews… Check it out!

Pro panel here at IRONMAN 70.3 Boulder! #boulder703 David Downey Ben Hoffman Tim Don Alicia Kaye Jeanni Seymour Jocelyn Gardner McCauley Rodolphe Rudy von Berg

 

 

 

 

 

Incredible joyous emotion from Tim Don with his family in the finish chute (video by Mark Cathcart):

The Pro Women finish line video:


 

 

 

 

 

 

The Pro women’s podium, complete with champagne!

Finish Line interviews with the Pros, by 303Radio’s Rich Soares: