All eyes were on Tim Don this past weekend as he made his return to triathlon at IRONMAN Hamburg. While he didn’t hit the podium this time, he finished top 10, and faught a good fight.
Sam Long took the scenic route to Whistler Canada, and after the long drive he seemed no worse for the wear finishing 4th just 2:28 behind Matt Russell.
Marinda Carfrae appears to be back in stellar condition, winning IRONMAN Santa Rosa 70.3. While the swim was scrapped, she finished a full 2 minutes ahead of Heather Wurtele, less than 12 months after the arrival of daughter Isabelle.
On the men’s side, Tyler Butterfield finished 3rd followed by Tim O’Donnell in 4th.
Congratulations to All!
Full results and commentary on last weekends races from IRONMAN here
A VALIANT “IRONMAN” HITS THE ROAD TO RECOVERY FORMER TRIATHLON WORLD CHAMPION, TIM DON, EMBARKS ON A JOURNEY OF FEARLESS OPTIMISM IN THE FACE OF ADVERSITY
Documentary on the tragic and heroic story of “The Man with the Halo” to premiere at the Boulder Theater in Boulder, CO for the first time in the U.S. on June 7th, 2018.
BOULDER, COLORADO – The legendary three-time Olympian, former triathlon World Champion and Ironman World Record holder, Tim Don, can only be described as the embodiment of pure fortitude, strength and willpower, after surviving a near-fatal road accident that was feared to bring a sudden end to his esteemed career just days before heading to the Ironman World Championships in October last year.
For the first time since his catastrophic setback, the Swiss sportswear company, On, together with Emmy award-winning director, Andrew Hinton, are revealing Tim’s remarkable story in a compelling short form documentary that chronicles his courageous comeback journey along the road to recovery. The highly anticipated and inspirational film, entitled “The Man with the Halo,” is planned for worldwide release on May 28th at www.ManwiththeHalo.com. This release date also commemorates the 1-year Anniversary of Tim’s world record-breaking performance during the 2017 Ironman South American Championships in Florianopolis, Brazil. The film will premiere for the first time ever in the U.S. in Tim’s current hometown of Boulder, CO at the Boulder Theater on June 7 th, 2018.
In the beginning of 2018, following an excruciating three-month period of mental and physical recovery resulting from a severely broken neck, doctors ordered the removal of Tim’s medical halo – the circular metallic support structure fixed directly into his skull. This marked the start of an intense chapter of rehabilitation, fueled by a fierce determination to rebuild himself as the world’s preeminent Ironman. Tim set his sights on his first comeback race – competing at this year’s Boston Marathon in April. Almost six months to the day after the accident, Tim remarkably finished in 2 hours and 49 minutes, just five minutes more than the marathon leg of his record-setting race at the 2017 Ironman South American Championships in Brazil.
“At On, we take pride in sponsoring not just athletes, but their human spirit,” says Olivier Bernhard, cofounder of the Swiss sportswear company. “Tim’s unwavering optimism in the face of adversity is a natural extension of our brand values. Once his pursuit of the Ironman World Championship slipped away following the crash in 2017, we wanted to create an alternative platform of recognition for Tim.
We put together a world-class production team to chronicle his recovery, and reached out to our
network to generate as much groundswell as possible around his comeback race at the Boston
Marathon. Our short form documentary will arguably generate an equally momentous spotlight to suffice any World Championship title. We are delighted to commemorate the 1-year Anniversary of Tim’s world record-breaking performance with a compelling story of undisputable heroism.”
On May 28th, 2017, at the age of 39 years old, Tim Don became the fastest Ironman triathlete of all time after breaking the World Record (previously set by Lionel Sanders) by four minutes, at a time of 7:40:23, during the Ironman South American Championships in Brazil. Tim was in the best shape of his life and continued to train relentlessly for October’s Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii, for which he was considered a favorite. While cycling during his final training preparations days before the event, Tim collided with a vehicle and broke a vertebra in his neck, forcing him to make an arduous decision about his future and the best method for long-term recovery. Due to the option of neck surgery giving extreme limitations to his eventual range of motion, Tim decided to wear a halo – the most torturous alternative – but one that would ensure complete recovery, enabling him to return to his 20-year career competing with the best in the world.
“After watching such a well produced documentary with my wife and reliving the ordeal we all went through, it’s evident how much stronger and resilient these gruelling experiences make you,” says Tim.
“Looking back on the last six months has made me realize that my injury was not just a career setback but a serious learning experience about the appreciation one can have towards such a nurturing and dedicated support structure during difficult times. I have been very fortunate and realize how the severity of my injury was shared between everyone around me and how we all carried an equal burden at one point or another. It was awesome to be back in the race environment at Boston, pinning the number on and being in the start corral with everyone. It’s what I worked so hard for over the last six months.”
Tim suffered for nearly four agonizing months at his home in Boulder, Colorado – not being able to shave, shower or dress himself. He became entirely dependent on his wife Kelly, who would often have to clean around the metal of the halo to prevent infection and reduce the swelling where the pins were screwed into his forehead. Tim was on a heavy dose of prescription painkillers that would often add to the problem with frequent vomiting. For three weeks he was upright in a chair in a corner of his living room, unable to sleep for more than 90 minutes at a time. The entire right side of his body became black from bruising and swelling with his ankles becoming swollen despite his compression socks.
As Tim slowly came off the painkillers, he was determined to move beyond the confines of his metal halo and fight for a competitive comeback. He called upon his physiotherapist, John Dennis, who had worked with Tim for over a decade during his competitive career. John was among the first to fly out from the UK to Colorado to supervise the rehabilitation program Tim was eager to start while still wearing the halo. With his upper body strength restricted by the device, John worked with Tim to regain mobility, strength and stability in his lower body. As the exercises became more intense, the screws in Tim’s halo would often come loose and have to be tightened. Eventually the halo was replaced with a large collar allowing for more variation during the workouts over time. Tim was focused and positive throughout the recovery process, which was helped by having goals such as the Boston Marathon and ultimately, a return to the World Championships in Kona.
On April 16th, six months after he was almost crippled for life, Tim took to the 2018 Boston Marathon. Despite the driving rain and temperatures close to freezing, Tim finished in under 2 hours and 50 minutes. A week before the marathon in April, Tim was up to 20 hours of training, compared to his typical 30 hours prior to the injury, although the race helped give him closure on a wound that nearly derailed his career indefinitely. The finish line in Boston marks the beginning of Tim’s long road to recovery. He plans to compete at the Ironman Triathlon European Championship in Hamburg on July 29th, before making a grand entrance as a returning frontrunner in October at the 2018 Ironman World Championships in Hawaii,
The new documentary entitled “The Man with the Halo,” chronicling Tim Don’s road to recovery, is produced by On, together with Emmy award-winning director, Andrew Hinton. The worldwide release date on May 28th marks the 1-year Anniversary of Tim Don’s world record-breaking performance during the Ironman South American Championships in Brazil. The documentary will be publicly available to watch on www.ManwiththeHalo.com.
Today, April 23rd, is St. George’s Day. The patron saint of England. 303Radio recently interviewed some of England’s finest triathletes; Tim Don, Rachel Joyce and James Hadley to talk about life in Boulder as a Brit, some of their greatest athletic moments and maybe some of their tougher moments as well. Along the way there is plenty of that famous British humor for all! To add to the mix we met at one of Ireland’s best, Ivan O’Gorman’s fit studio in Niwot. What happens when you get some friends from “across the pond” to chat all things triathlon and life? Have a listen and find out!
In this story from the Telegraph, Tim Don’s story of recovery from being hit on the bike just days before last year’s IRONMAN World Championship is detailed, including the five holes drilled into his head for his halo device.
Read about Tim Don’s life-threatening crash in Kona HERE
From the Telegraph
Tim Don: how the fastest ever Ironman shook off a broken neck to keep on running
In October 2017, Tim Don was cycling in Kailua-Kona on the island of Hawaii, one of the southernmost islands in the secluded American state. The British athlete was putting the finishing touches on months of training ahead of the biggest race of his career: the Ironman World Championship.
But Don, a three-time Olympic triathlete, didn’t get to take part in that race in Hawaii. Three days before the big day, while cycling along a designated lane, he was t-boned by a car turning into a petrol station. Thirty minutes later Don woke up on his way to hospital with a broken neck. It was a day before his daughter’s birthday; he feared he might never compete again.
But there’s definitely something setting athletes apart – particularly those of extreme sports or extreme distances. While most would take as long as possible to recover, Don had itchy feet within days. Despite the pain, and against doctors’ advice, he was back on the exercise bike within three weeks. “The screws kept coming loose”, he explains. “They had to keep screwing them back into my skull. One came loose so many times it was making a big indentation. They were worried they’d puncture the skull.” And then, the understatement of the century: “It’s pretty intense”.
Just four months on, Don is training for the Boston Marathon in April, with the ultimate goal of realising his dream in Hawai’i this year…
Professional Triathlete Tim Don is on the road to recovery after having been hit on the Queen K in the days leading up to IRONMAN World Championships last October in Kona. (Tim’s video here)
We recently shared the post (from Slowtwitch.com here )that he has been cleared from wearing the Halo he has been sporting for the past weeks since his injuries were sustained.
ENDURA, Scottish apparel company and one of Tim’s sponsors, has created a special edition cycling kit. The proceeds of this kit will be put towards Tim’s growing medical expenses.
Read on for the complete Press Release and how to order your kit.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 29, 2018
Endura Creates ‘The Don’ tribute Cycling Kit to Help Support Medical Expenses
for Ironman World Record Holder Tim Don
(Boulder, CO) – The Triathlon community was stunned with news of a triathlon legend being hit by a truck only days prior to the biggest event in the sport, the Ironman World Championships in Kailua-Kona. Tim Don, a 4x World Champion, 3x Olympian, 2x podium finisher at Ironman 70.3 World Championships and most recently, the holder of the Ironman World Record (May 2017), was struck by a careless vehicle while out training on the infamous Queen K Highway three days before the race. Fans and media were alerted of the situation via Tim’s social media post from the Kona Community hospital bed, but some of the finer details and the ever-growing financial burdens of the accident were kept to those closest to him.
Tim’s initial medical diagnosis was a broken C2 vertebra and that he would likely be in a removable neck brace for approximately 5 weeks. Tim was flown out of Kona the next night and taken directly from the airport to a brain and spinal specialist in his home town of Boulder, Colorado. As it turned out, the injury was more serious than originally thought and Tim was given three choices: Remain in a soft brace, which presented further risks; have surgery, which is the most common solution; and then the least popular choice, The Halo.
Although extremely painful, The Halo offered Tim the best chance of making a full recovery whereby he would (hopefully) be able to maintain full range of motion in his neck. A high level of mobility is essential for a professional triathlete who needs to be able to fully turn his neck during the swim and hold a low, aero position on the bike.
The Halo option immobilized Tim and required a team of doctors, physios, specialized equipment, and a vast amount of support from his network to help get him through the agonizing three months of wearing the medieval looking contraption. “The medical bills and mental costs have really added up and I think many people in this situation would fold and call it a day as a highly competitive athlete, but The Don is determined to get back to the top of the sport, no matter the cost,” said Franko Vatterott, a member of Tim’s management team.
A few friends suggested starting a GoFundMe page or something similar, but Tim and his wife Kelly were not comfortable asking for that type of support. Several of his sponsors and supporters did offer to help in certain ways but the financial strains are still very real. The Don family are lucky enough to have an exceptionally strong community of triathletes and friends around them and someone close to Tim suggested making a limited edition cycling kit, whereby all profits from the sales help cover the ever-increasing medical expenses. The Don’s team approached his long-time performance apparel sponsor Endura, and without hesitation they agreed to design, produce and sell a ‘Don themed’ cycling jerseys and bib shorts.
It is recognized that a lot of people in the triathlon community would make donations without receiving anything in return, but Endura has produced a top-quality cycling kit for the kind contributions to support Tim and his family. The ‘TD design’ has subtle tributes of the popular professional athlete with the UK national colours, “The Don” printed on the jersey chest and right leg of the bib shorts, as well as a nod to his Ironman World Record time of 7:40:23, faintly printed on the back pocket of the jersey and lower leg band of the shorts. The full kit is printed on Endura’s high-end WT Race jersey and bib shorts, which can be seen on Tim in training and pro tour cycling team Movistar in races.
With Endura donating their valuable time for design, production, fulfillment and proceeds, delivery time may be slightly longer than normal. Estimated production and delivery time may take up to 3 weeks, depending on the demand for these items.
Those wishing to support this great cause can order the kit here
Bermuda native and local Boulder Pro Triathlete, Tyler Butterfield, recently won the Bermuda Marathon. In an interview with the Royal Gazette, he talks about his move to train with coach Julie Dibens, thoughts the 2018 ITU World Championship race being held in Bermuda this April and his roots in sport and triathlon.
Butterfield is hoping his schedule will allow him to return to Bermuda to watch the ITU World Triathlon Bermuda. An event that will bring Flora Duffy to compete on her home soil.
After his win, ‘It took Butterfield about half an hour to move about 15 yards from the finish line on Sunday, the Bermudian stopping and chatting with fans and fellow athletes.’
“In the end it’s just sport, and that’s why everyone likes sports because it breaks down barriers,” Butterfield said. “In the end, we’re all out here to have fun, smile and do our best whether it’s a half, full marathon or 10K.
Butterfield shared these comments with 303Triathlon,
It was a great trip to Bermuda for their Race weekend. The options to do a mile Friday, 10k Saturday, and 1/2 Marathon or Marathon Sunday were all available . Or to do the triple challenge of all 3days ending in the 1/2.
I however opted to try the Marathon and test out the legs for an early season hit out. Working with Julie Dibens since November, we have had consistent training and want a bit of a test. Most the training was base specific and for Tri’s, but the marathon kept me honest on my long runs in December.
It is a great way to start the year with a surprising win and faster time than really expected, but it shows that the consistency payed off.
It has been nice working with Julie and takes a little bit of thought out of the week, and more energy to just do what I am told. Which in turn, has been enjoyable and makes life outside of training nice and switch the mind off more.
A terrible accident a few days before the 2017 IRONMAN World Championships took Brit Tim Don out of the race. The Halo (seen below) finally came off, but he is still a long way from being fully recovered. I chatted with him to see how he is doing and what is next.
Slowtwitch: Tim, how are you my friend?
Tim Don: Very happy and a bit stiff, but mostly happy. Halo free and loving it. Just unbelievable really. It has been a tough 3 months for us all, that’s for sure.
ST: The Halo time must have seemed like an eternity.
Tim: Yep it did seem like an eternity – 12 weeks to the day since the car hit me on the Queen K three days before the race. The nights were the toughest especially early on when I was not really sleeping longer than 60 minutes at a time. But onwards and upwards, it is off and I can move on to the next stage of my rehab and move a bit more as well.
ST: How did you sleep with that contraption?
Tim: Not so good to be honest, the first 3 weeks I slept in a chair, upright. As the brace came half way down my back and front, any pressure from leaning back on it put extra force on my screws, which were rather painful. At about 3 weeks I was off all the strong prescription pain killers and moved back upstairs back into a bed, but again upright with about 4 big pillows. The problem with all of these sleeping positions was my legs, they were just pooling with blood and swelling up big time even with compression socks and tights on, and it was neither good nor comfy. At about five weeks we decided to try a bed that can move up and down both for your head and legs and wow, I could sleep a full night! Still upright but as my legs were elevated they felt so much better. Now the Halo is off and within three days I was flat on my back and so happy. Simple things.
The masses of triathletes collected in Kona for IRONMAN World Championships collectively grieved yesterday as word of Tim Don‘s bike crash spread like wildfire… From the Slowtwitch Party to the annual Training Peaks gathering, there were many speculations that Tim’s back was broken… that he was unconscious… that, no matter what the severity, he was out of the race.
Leave it to “The Don” to hit the social airwaves in a timely fashion, complete with his dry humor, posting an Instagram video for fans and followers. Suffice it to say, to see the predicted top-ten contender sitting up and talking, cracking jokes, was reassuring. A Great Britain native who lives and trains in Boulder, the Colorado community especially was eager for news. In the video Don jokes that he was simply working on his new “aero look” with his neck brace, seeking to gain an advantage over Jan (Frodeno), Sebby (Kienle) and Patrick (Lange)…
September 12, 2017 – Professional triathlete Tyler Butterfield logged another world-class performance to score seventh place at the Ironman 70.3 World Championship on Sunday in Chattanooga, Tennessee, his best 70.3 World Championship finish to date. The result marked Butterfield’s steady progression through the top ten at the championship event, having finished ninth in 2013,, eighth in 2015, and now seventh in 2017, and bodes well for his fitness in the final five-week lead into the Ironman World Championship on October 14th in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. His corresponding Kona finishes in those years were his best to date—seventh in 2013 and fifth in 2015—showing a pattern of success when tackling the 70.3 Championship prior to the Ironman World Championship, his primary focus for several years now.
Butterfield clocked 25:20 in the 1.2-mile swim, emerging with the main group of men containing all the key contenders outside of swim leaders Ben Kanute, the eventual second- place finisher, and Javier Gomez, prolific triathlon champion and silver medalist at the Olympic Games, who went on to win.
Ten men—including Butterfield and Ironman world record holder Tim Don—rode in the chase pack, with hard-charging Sebastian Kienle, a two-time victor at the race, coming from behind. Entering T2, Butterfield was in third; within 30 seconds a flurry of six other top rivals flew in and out of transition and quickly sorted themselves out on the road ahead, with Butterfield now running in sixth. Gomez, known for his spectacular run speed, made quick work from further back in the field to knock off every forward challenger and claim the world title. Butterfield held steady and strong, and ultimately crossed the line in seventh with a 1:17:32 half marathon and 3:56:22 finish time.
“I wasn’t able to put in my usual attacks on the bike. It was hard enough just being there! Racing at this level gets more and more competitive every year. I looked around and everyone in the group was a world title holder, world record holder, or at least someone who has won a lot of races. You can’t just get away from these guys whenever you like,” said Butterfield.
“I also wanted to wait and test my run,” he continued. “I wanted to really get a feel for my run fitness in advance of Kona—something you can’t fully gauge outside of a race environment. I haven’t had the opportunity to get in the run training I’d like for a number of years—partly because of injury, but now, looking back, also because of where we lived.”
Since the family’s move from their mountain home to a farm in rural Boulder County, Butterfield has been able to run straight out the door, rather than spend time driving to and from town. Living at a lower altitude (5,600 feet, as opposed to 7,400 feet) has also allowed him to cope with a higher workload. Additionally, he has found that the convenience of being able to go home between sessions has helped his recovery.
“I was a little disappointed with my run, considering the training I’ve had. It was solid, but nothing special. Really, I should be running only a little slower than that for an entire marathon if I want to be in the mix in Kona,” said Butterfield, who averaged 5:55 minute miles in Sunday’s race. “I’m not sure if I was still a little tired from the training. I certainly gave this race the respect it deserves and came in tapered, but I think I may have carried in a bit too much long-term fatigue. I’m hoping I can get in the remaining training I need in the next five weeks, as well as shake some of the residual tiredness from my Kona overload. It’s kind of hard to do both at once—get fitter and fresher—but I’ll try.”
Butterfield indeed appears to be on track for another impressive race on the Big Island, as evidenced by a steady pattern of improving results. His 2017 regular season performances started with fourth at Ironman 70.3 Dubai, then third at the Ironman North American Championship, followed by second at Ironman 70.3 Monterrey, and finally a win at Ironman 70.3 Raleigh. This pattern of improvement also shows in his Ironman 70.3 World Championship progression—ninth in 2013, eighth in 2015, and seventh in 2017—and in his Kona performances, where he finished seventh in 2013 and fifth in 2015.
“I guess I like to keep my results orderly,” joked Butterfield. “In all seriousness, I do like the steady progress upward. It’s rewarding to see the results of all the hard work, as my entire family sacrifices year-round to help me be the best I can be. Hopefully with the focused training I’ve had so far and the time remaining, I can continue to improve all the way into Kona.”
Butterfield now heads back home to Colorado for his final Kona training block, with five short weeks remaining until the Ironman World Championship.