Three Coloradans, top 10 in Men’s Race at IRONMAN World Championships

By Bill Plock

Kailua Kona–Tim O’Donnell (T.O), Ben Hoffman and Chris Leiferman finished second, fourth and tenth in Saturday’s IRONMAN World Championships respectively. T.O. became only the fourth person in history to break the 8 hour mark finishing in 7:59:40, 8 minutes behind champion, Jan Frodeno who set a course record of 7:51:13 for his third title in five years.

It would be hard to fathom a better second place under any circumstances. T.O. would’ve won on most any other day, but he faced a very hungry, two time world champion in Jan Frodeno. T.O. told 303’s Rich Soares at the finish line that he was very pleased to go sub 8 at the age of 39 and was pleasantly surprised his nagging foot injury didn’t hurt is marathon (stay tuned for entire interview and future podcast).

At the press conference following the event (which you can hear the entire, very entertaining press conference on 303 in the very near future) Jan eluded to not taking anything for granted and racing relaxed with a nothing to lose attitude. In 2017 he injured himself and walked a good bit of the marathon–but still finished. In 2018 Jan didn’t compete so he put everything he had into coming back in 2019.

But T.O. had his own motivation and some doubt. At the pre-race press conference T.O., who battled a couple of injuries all summer, admitted he wasn’t sure what to expect and hoped there might be a silver lining of freshness from not being able to train as much as usual. To have his best day as a pro, in the most competitive conditions, a bit unsure of his fitness, was an inspiring performance.

Ben Hoffman, with a blistering time of 8:02:52, smashed his second place time from 2014 by nearly 17 minutes on a course no more favorable than last year (perhaps more than 2014) when Patrick Lange set the course record, now broken. In fact the winds were stronger this year and there was even rain on the bike course—which Jan blamed newcomer, Britain’s, Alistair Brownlee for “ordering” as he seems to triumph in the rain quite often. The two time gold medalist, Brownlee finished 21st despite a flat and an overall time of 8:25:03.

In between Hoffman and Brownlee, Longmont’s Chris Leiferman finished tenth in his Kona debut finishing at 8:13:37.

It was a great day for Colorado with Andy Potts finishing 14th, Joe Gambles at 36th and Kennett Peterson started the bike but ran into some trouble and pulled out. Boulder Ironman winner, Matt Russell (who frequently is in Colorado) finished 17th.

For the women, “sometime” Coloradan Heather Jackson (8:54:44) finished fifth behind winner Anne Haug of Germany, 8:40:10.

Other Colorado pro’s, Lesley Smith finished in 22nd, Danielle Mack was 32nd and three time World Champion, Mirinda Carfrae pulled out on the bike course.

52 athletes from Colorado towed the line on Saturday and the state with the highest per capita athletes fared very well!

Kona Kids with Carrie McCoy

Coach Carrie McCoy is a woman of many talents. Born in Littleton, Colorado, this former Coloradan turned Hawaiian is not only racing this Saturday, but also helping empower local youth with life skills.

Followed her father’s footsteps and started running with him at the age of five. After running cross country in High School and for Ohio State, Carrie felt the desire to try triathlon. With the support of Team In Training, she competed in St Anthony’s where she placed on the podium. Her athletic career took off and she began racing as a pro. Carrie found a way to train on the big island through the hospitality of a host family. She found a connection to the island and a local group of children who stole her heart. The kids became her calling and she created a youth foundation named Kona Kids.

Kona Kids is an after school program founded to help children that live in Ulu Wini transitional housing. They provide the children with valuable learning experiences and developmental resources through education, exercise, and leadership. Her goal is to give her kids the tools they need to be successful, from school supplies to education and empowerment.

We caught up with Coach McCoy and twenty kids that she drove to the King Kamehameha hotel to swim in Kailua bay. Carrie explained that they are teaching the kids to swim in open water. She is hoping it will teach them skills that will give them confidence and life saving skills. When we asked the kids what they liked most about Carrie, they said it was the activities like swimming and playing catch with a football.

Carrie is racing the Ironman World Championship as an age-grouper this year, and many of her kids will be there with us to cheer her to the finish line. After Kona, she plans to requalify for her pro card at Ironman Arizona. Good luck, Carrie! We’re all cheering for you!

For more information, check out and

Sponsors are Vital to Kona, Thanks Clever Training!

Steven Bacon, part of Clever Training at IM Boulder

Sponsors make 303’s coverage at Kona possible. Let’s face it sponsors make Kona possible in general. As you can imagine it is an expensive journey to bring you the stories from Hawaii. We take these relationships serious and it’s important to 303 to do business with people who support our industry and are enjoyable to work with!

As part of a Colorado company, is a specialty online endurance sports retailer and leading provider of innovative athletic training gear. They were one of the first retailers of its kind to focus on the high-end fitness and training tech available for endurance athletes. It’s a slice of triathlon geekdom.

“Some great specials

Starting their journey in the land of Ironman in Tampa, Fl. CleverTraining quickly became the go-to for tech recommendations for athletes with their collaboration with DC Rainmaker.

They now have a mountain to ocean connection having now joined forces with Colorado-based JackRabbit – known here locally as The Boulder Running Company.  This partnership has allowed them to expand their services from all things data to a wide range of running shoes for triathletes to the mix.

We at 303Endurance really appreciate Clever Training supporting our Kona coverage efforts and we hope our audience will support our supporters like Clever Training!–Bill Plock, President 303Endurance

Education is a huge part of the CleverTraining premise, and they publish a wealth of knowledge about training, racing and recovery with input from pro-athletes and coaches so you can get the most out of a tech investment.  There’s little use to having a smart trainer in your basement pain cave if you don’t know how to use it optimally!

The team at CleverTraining also have the enviable job of working with the top brands in the tech market for advance access to their latest innovations and the first to bring them to the CT audience.  They are also keen supporters of all-things endurance, with a mission to champion the growth of endurance sports available from the traditional swim, bike, run to emerging sports like Swim/Run.  If it requires slow twitch muscles, CT are on it! 

Oh, and it goes without saying the team are athletes themselves, competing on the triathlon, ultra-running, open water swimming and marathon stages.

Looking ahead, CleverTraining is raising its game in 2020 with the latest and greatest in running and cycling tech, more focus on supporting women in the sport, as well as offering more in depth advice on using tech as a coach and an athlete. If you’re an endurance coach in Colorado and interested in sharing your wisdom with CleverTraining audience on how you use tech with your athletes, get in touch at this email ( for their new Coach’s Corner series launching in early 2020.

Kona Racing Wisdom From Kona Veteran Simon Butterworth

Simon Butterworth, age group Champion, Kona 2017

D3 Coach Simon Butterworth has had the most incredible athletic prowess of racing the Ironman World Championships fourteen times. He is about to embark on his 15th this October. His knowledge of the course and conditions is unparalleled. He is a strategic athlete, researching and understanding every aspect of the course so that his own race plan is thoroughly dialed in for all variables. And the best part – he is willing to share his top tips with you – all to ensure your own race day success. 

1. Don’t drink for the first 30 minutes after the swim. I have only seen this advice once, it was in an article by Dave Scott just before my first Ironman in 2001. The idea is that you have almost certainly been drinking during the swim and adding more fluids on top of some nice saltwater (or “clean” lake/river water) and it is not necessarily kind on your stomach. Best to wait until the swim water is digested.

2. Don’t use RPE in the first 30 minutes of the bike. RPE this early in the race is very misleading. When you get going on the bike you most likely will feel like superman/superwoman. You will not have felt this good starting a bike after the swim in months. Don’t let that feeling get you hammering as you hit the hills in Kona. Staying in your targeted power zone is the best way to control those emotions. 

3. Be prepared for the unexpected. Spending some time visualizing the race you hope for and thinking about things that can go wrong is essential. And, better than just thinking about it is writing it down. I always write a race report before the race (finalizing it on the long flight to Kona). It does include the possible bad stuff and most importantly, things I can do that will lift me out of a hole. Here are some potential problems:

  • Exceptionally windy day (my first in 2001 had 55 mph gusts on the Queen K and 30 mph headwind going up to Hawi). Stay in your aerobars and be sure to practice that when you get to Kona in the wind. Staying low going into the wind is an obvious best choice. Staying low in crosswind gusts gets you just a bit closer to the road, wind diminishes as you get close to the ground.
  • Watch the grass on the side of the road for a small warning of a big gust.
  • If you flat, or have a mechanical problem, be sure to keep up the hydration and fueling. I failed to think of that when I had an extended stop one year. Fortunately, I realized my mistake in time. 
  • Be prepared for a case of the wobbles when you get off the bike. In 2001 I totally underestimated the effort of staying upright in the wind gusts, and the effects of the heat. I almost hit the pavement when I got off the bike. The first 3 miles were ugly and slow but I recovered and finished. Even in better conditions those first two hills on Alii, which you hardly notice in practice, can seem like a mountain. Pace things right and take a short walk and they will seem much smaller on the way back to the crowds in Kona. 
  • Walking, you will unless you are an elite athlete and even they do some. I solve the mental stress of walking by planning to do so on a schedule. If you have not been doing this, now is not the time to change your plans. However, be ready mentally to deal with walking. You will not be alone. Experiment with the duration of the walk and intensity. You might be surprised at how a modest 15 seconds (which is about 30 fast steps for me) makes you feel and getting into a routine can help. Short fast walking can help fire up the glutes that have probably gone to sleep. 

Some extra points to remember.

  • This is nothing you haven’t heard before, but it is much too late to make changes in your gear. That includes clothing, and the fuel and sports drink you use. Dave Scott changed his bike position three weeks before his last IM, he did not finish. 
  • No flip flops, or barefoot walking. Make sure your footwear minimizes the chance of an accident as you enjoy Kona before the race. 
  • Above all else, enjoy the experience of racing the Ironman World Championships! See you out there.

D3 Coach Simon Butterworth will be racing his 15th IMWC this October. In the big picture, he sees attitude more than age making the difference in many aspects of this sport. There are times in triathlon that to see improvements you need to slow down and spend some time working on your technique – which requires a great deal of discipline. So does having a coach and following the plan written for you. The best coach in the world can only be of help if you’re ready and willing to do the work.

303’s Coverage of Kona, Why? For You and Us–all of Us.

By Bill Plock, President of 303Endurance/Triathlon/Cycling

People often wonder why 303 goes to Kona to cover the IRONMAN World Championships. Or ask why 303 even exists? Who we are and so forth. When Sandi Weibe crossed the finish line last year wearing a shirt we had given athletes from Colorado, it just seemed so clear and that picture pretty much answers our why. We go to Kona and to the local school yard bike rallies, local triathlons and crits and everything in between as much as possible to help make our endurance community that much better. That much more connected and simply that much more celebrated.

At arguably the worlds most prestigious endurance event, stories unfold, missions come to life and the triathlon world converges in a showcase unique to the sport. It’s the place to be.

We are there to celebrate the journey of the 52 Colorado athletes racing on October 12th. We want to tell their stories. We have asked each one of them to share their journey and hopefully in the next 10 days you will read and hear many of them.

If there is one gesture that defines the reason, it is our offer to each athlete of a handmade Christmas Ornament designed and made by Glassmith2. They are a second generation engraving company based in Boulder and they make the age group awards for IRONMAN.

Braden Todd, Owner of Glassmith2

But more, they are a couple, Alison and Braden Todd, with kids and a dog and an entrepreneurial spirit trying to make a small business succeed. They are great people and Braden is a sixth generation Boulderite. Braden’s great grandfather was the first person ever graduate from the University of Colorado. It’s this kind of connection that we strive to bring to the endurance community.

When Sandi crossed the finish line wearing a shirt, not really designed to race in, I was so touched she wanted to represent Colorado, just like we do. In such an international atmosphere, to see our logo cross the line meant a lot.

Khem Suthiwan
Rich Soares

We try to make it fun, we work hard. We interview all kinds of people, give you podcasts to listen to all week and find stories and cover the race. We try to share the experience of the island and bring you more than just recap of who won. We strive to share the culture, the atmosphere and the friends we see and make along the way. And Khem Suthiwan’s food scavenger hunt was a big hit last year—lets see what she comes up with this year.

We have Rich Soares’ awesome finish line interviews and podcasting excellence and Kenny Withrow’s artistic views through the camera–he also on assignment for a major publication so we won’t have him full-time–dang it!!

We have great sponsors that make this possible with some outstanding exclusive discounts to offer you from Clever Training and BASE Performance, and a chance to win a frame from Blue Competition Cycles and much more to be announced soon. Check out that deal on an indoor trainer from CycleOps. We have a landing page that shares not only the names of who is racing, but a place to find articles and podcasts, sponsors specials and some fun stuff–and of course the sponsors offers and more

We will be bringing you events all week and feature stories on people like Beth and Liza from Crested Butte, check out this video on them from NBC

Kennett Peterson with Mike Reilly at IM Boulder 2019

We just finished a podcast with professional Kennett Peterson of Boulder as he prepares for his first trip to Kona, keep an eye out for that. He gives some really great insight on what he is thinking and feeling heading into his race and some other thoughts on being a pro triathlete.

Simon Butterworth winning Kona

Locally we have some the best resources around to offer you tips if you are racing. One such person (“lad” is a better word in his Scottish accent) is Simon Butterworth has offered three major tips for racing in Kona. That article will be published soon. Very interesting tip about waiting to drink at least 30 minutes after the swim to let the sea water invariably “drank” settle in.

But settle in, follow us here, on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, grab a cup of coffee, a beer, a friend and enjoy our coverage.


The 303 Team!