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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MIRINDA CARFRAE, TIMOTHY O’DONNELL, MIKE REILLY RETURN TO LEAD 2018 IRONMAN FOUNDATION AMBASSADOR TEAMS

Ambassadors and new Mālama Club to support IRONMAN Foundation year-round

Photo from Endurance Sportswire

TAMPA, Fla. (April 23, 2018) – The IRONMAN Foundation® announced today the 2018 IRONMAN Foundation Ambassador Team and the creation of the Mālama Club. In celebration of IRONMAN’s 40th Anniversary, the IRONMAN Foundation has expanded its ambassador program by launching the Mālama Club, a team of 14 IRONMAN athletes who are ardent supporters of the IRONMAN Foundation’s mission of creating positive, tangible change in race communities and embody the spirit of the Hawaiian word Mālama, meaning to “take care of, preserve and protect.”

The supporting 2018 IRONMAN Foundation Ambassador Team is comprised of 22 carefully selected members: 19 age-group athletes; Team Captain, the “Voice of IRONMAN” Mike Reilly; and pro triathletes Mirinda Carfrae, a three-time IRONMAN® World Champion, and Timothy O’Donnell, a multi-year IRONMAN World Championship top-ten finisher. Ambassadors have been chosen for their outstanding involvement in their own communities and will continue to exemplify what it means to ‘Race for More’ by focusing their efforts on the IRONMAN Foundation’s 16 service projects this season. In 2017, the IRONMAN Foundation Ambassador team supported 14 service projects and contributed to the IRONMAN Foundation’s $1.5 million total in grant funding to 1,380 organizations in IRONMAN race communities.

“Having the honor of representing the IRONMAN Foundation last year as the Ambassador Captain was one of the highlights of my career,” said Reilly. “To be able to give back and help those in need throughout our IRONMAN communities is very gratifying and needed. I am looking forward to continuing that role in 2018 and hope others consider being a part of the IRONMAN Foundation team this year.”

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IRONMAN World Championships Broadcast Premier Viewing Party in NYC!

Having Kona withdrawals? Here’s a very good reason to book a trip…a trip to the Big Apple!

The Broadcast Premiere Viewing Party of the 2017 IRONMAN World Championship will be taking place on December 5th in New York City. Besides a front row seat at the finish line in Kona, this party is slated to be the Best Night in Triathlon.

The evening will begin with a welcome reception mix & mingle with professional athletes, featured inspirational athletes, and an opportunity to take a piece of IRONMAN World Championship history home with you via a silent auction. There will even be an opportunity to bid on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to race in the 2018 IRONMAN World Championship and 2018 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship during the live auction!

Following the reception, you will experience all the action of the 2017 IRONMAN World Championship NBC broadcast before it airs nationwide. The evening concludes with a Q&A session discussing all the behind-the-scenes details with a panel of IRONMAN Professional Athletes and IRONMAN Hall of Fame members.

Celebrity guests to include 3-time IRONMAN World Champion Mirinda Carfrae, IRONMAN U.S. Champion Timothy O’Donnell, and of course The “Voice” of IRONMAN Mike Reilly.

Tickets are on sale now with proceeds benefitting the IRONMAN Foundation Community Fund. Click here to purchase tickets.

The IRONMAN Foundation to provide $125,000 in charitable giveback to the Kailua-Kona community in 2017

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.

Mike Reilly, Mirinda Carfrae, Timothy O’Donnell lead 2017 Ironman Foundation Ambassador Team

Ironman today announced it’s 18-member Ambassador team – including 303’s own Khem Suthiwan!

Ambassadors to support service projects in eight IRONMAN North American race communities

TAMPA, Fla. (May 8, 2017) – The IRONMAN Foundation® today announced that the 2017 IMF Ambassador Team comprising 18 age-group triathletes from around the United States will be led by Team Captain and “Voice of IRONMAN” Mike Reilly as well as by pro triathletes Mirinda Carfrae, a three-time IRONMAN World Champion, and Timothy O’Donnell, a multi-year IRONMAN® World Championship top ten finisher. To support The Foundation’s mission to create tangible impact in IRONMAN race communities through philanthropy and volunteerism, the ambassadors will focus their efforts on The Foundation’s eight service projects in North America.

Each service project is conducted in partnership with a local nonprofit organization, powerfully linking IRONMAN athletes and TriClubs to the local race community. At the 2017 IRONMAN® 70.3® Oceanside triathlon, an adaptive surf clinic for children with physical challenges was held with the Challenged Athletes Foundation. At the 2017 IRONMAN North American Championship Texas triathlon, a local disabled senior received a new roof and volunteers helped restore the exterior of her home with Rebuilding Together Houston.

“It’s an extraordinary moment when an IRONMAN athlete has the opportunity to connect directly with the cause they support and make a difference in their race community,” said Sarah Hartmann, Community Relations Manager for the IRONMAN Foundation. “Our 2017 Team IMF Ambassador Team truly embodies our mantra of ‘Service Through Sport and Commitment to Community.’”

Additional service projects include flood restoration with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Friends of Lake Sonoma at IRONMAN 70.3 Santa Rosa, an adaptive climbing clinic and trail maintenance with Paradox Sports at IRONMAN Boulder, a race week hands-only CPR training with the American Red Cross at IRONMAN Lake Placid, and a day of service with the Salt River Children’s Foundation at IRONMAN Arizona. Two additional projects are planned for the 2017 IRONMAN World Championship and IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship events.

“I’m extremely proud to represent the IRONMAN Foundation this season as the captain of the IMF Ambassador Team,” said Mike Reilly, Voice of IRONMAN. “This team has a unique opportunity to connect with our local race communities and give back through sport. The IRONMAN Foundation athletes give of themselves in order for others to achieve, there is no greater honor!”

The 2017 Team IMF Ambassadors are:

Mike Reilly, San Diego, CA

Mirinda Carfrae, Boulder, CO

Timothy O’Donnell, Boulder, CO

Peter Anderson, Portland, ME

Melissa Bowman, Chicago, IL

Louis Burns, Granite Bay, CA

Diana Cohen, Columbia, CT

Kevin Edmonds, College Park, GA

Shay Eskew, Brentwood, TN

Stephanie Felber, Elgin, IL

Woodrow Freese, Newton, MA

Daniel Giblin, Rochester, NY

Sheila Hiestand, Louisville, KY

Alex Holderness, Denver, CO

Terry Klise, Missoula, MT

Bryan Lam, El Cerrito, CA

Robert Maar, Plainfield, IN

John McGrath, Paradise Valley, AZ

Ed Shifflet, Swarthmore, PA

John Snyder, Leawood, KS

Khem Suthiwan, Denver, CO

For more information on each service project and how you can get involved, please visit Here.