Since 2013, Smile Train’s endurance fundraising program, Smile Train Team EMPOWER has partnered with IRONMAN as an official charity partner to help raise funds and awareness for children with clefts in the developing world. A global endurance fundraising program of Smile Train, Team EMPOWER is the world’s largest cleft charity and gives athletes all around the world the opportunity to make their race count by providing 100%-free, safe, high-quality surgery and comprehensive cleft care for children. Smile Train Team EMPOWER athletes have helped more than 14,700 children.
The 303 team kept busy all last week in Kona bringing you news and stories, here are few highlights.
People wonder why we send such a group to this race and the answer is not simple, but yet it is. Kona showcases the greatest triumphs. It celebrates athletes from around the world with 2,400 stories from over 50 countries. Colorado is everywhere. From third most represented state of athletes to having many companies and industry and media professionals present. At the USAT partner party, half of the people there were from Colorado. Colorado has a big impact on Kona.
1. Colorado rocks with 38 amateur athletes competing and five of them ending up on the podium:
– Nicholas Noon 2nd
– Kelly Phuah 3rd
– Diana Hassel 3rd
– Matthew Malone 4th, this was also a 45th place finish Overall
– Simon Butterworth 4th
2. Four Colorado based pro’s ended up in the top 10:
– Tim O’Donnell 4th
– Mirinda Carfrae 5th
– Kaisa Sali 7th
– Andy Potts 8th
3. Records were broken
– Fastest Male race: 7:52, Patrick Lange, first time finish was under 8 hours.
– Fastest Female race: 8:26, Daniela Ryf, broke her own record by 20 minutes!
– Fastest Male swim ever: 46:30 (amateur set the record)
– Fastest Female swim ever: 48:14 (Pro Lucy Charles, 4 min faster than the next pro)
– Fastest Female Bike Split, (Pro Daniela Ryf, 4:26, 18 min faster than previous)
– Oldest finisher, 86 year old Inada Hiromu of Japan
4. Presumably, the most weight loss finisher with Marcus Cook losing about 250 pounds and carrying a life size cut-out of himself at his most weight through the finish line that brought a massive roar from the crowd.
5. More people seem interested in what Khem was eating than almost anything else based on our Facebook post of her “guess what I am eating contest”.
6. Colorado has great industry representation: BASE Performance, Newton, BOCO Gear, Triathlete Magazine, Rudy Project, Ceramic Speed, Stryd, Scratch, Stages, and TrainingPeaks.
7. Simon Butterworth and Bob Babbitt do look like Elvis
8. The Pros have fun too: Patrick Lange proposed to his girlfriend right after he crossed the finish line saying it “was the best part of day”, after winning and breaking a record. Sarah True said, “I felt like I was just riding bikes with friends,” after finishing her first Kona.
9. Bill Plock Sleepwalks and tries to get out of a condo in the middle of the night.
10. The 303 team went through six bags of gummy bears, 2 tanks of gas, shot over 500 pics, conducted 8 live podcast interviews, swam to the coffee boat a few times, was up at 4am and back home at 1am covering the race from beginning to end.
We had a great week, a triumph, a day and race for the ages. Simply put, it was marvelous.
Madame Pele blessed us with perhaps the best weather in our championship history; our athletes took advantage of her gift. Records were smashed in all aspects of the race and we saw the oldest finisher in our history – Hiromu Inada from Japan, 86 years old.
After celebrating 40 Years of Dreams, Saturday’s race was seen by more people than any edition in history, and in more places. That’s not easy when you’re broadcasting from an island, in new formats. Our partnerships with Facebook Watch, NBC Sports, ASO and BCC redefined broadcast excellence in our sport and gave us an unrivaled platform for our brand.
“This year we grew our live online viewership from 1.2 Million views in 2017, to 20 Million views in 2018 on Facebook Watch. That’s 16x!”
American Tim O’Donnell raced his way to a fourth-place finish at the 2018 Ironman World Championship, crossing the line in 8:03:17. O’Donnell talks about the drastic changes he’s made in his training, the head-to-head battle with Braden Currie, and managing the balance of parenthood with elite-level racing.
It’s generally understood that Kona, i.e. the Ironman World Championship, is different from all the other Ironman races. Often people associate this difference with both the fact that you have to qualify to earn your spot at the start line (or earn it through one of seven other ways), and that therefore the athlete field at the race represents the cream of the crop. And while all of this is certainly true, it’s just scratching the surface of why this race stands out so dramatically from just about any other race you’ve attended.
First off, because this is like the Superbowl / World Series / Stanley Cup of triathlon, the crowds are insane. And Kona is a really, really small little town normally. Just as a comparison, based on some back-of-the-napkin calculations, here’s how Kona compares to, say, IM Boulder:
So, as you can start to see, Kona is busting at the seams – and then some – during race week. Not to mention the fact that people start arriving 7 or even 10 days before the race, rather than the Thursday of race week. Because of that, you need to set up lodging and rental cars as early as possible. And you need to anticipate that everything is going to be busy – parking lots, restaurants, local street traffic – everything.
One thing that’s really neat about the crowds, though, is how international it all is. (I mean, it is the World Championship, so this shouldn’t come as a surprise.) Athlete briefings are given in seven different languages – English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Chinese, Japanese, and German. And everywhere you go you hear different languages and accents. It really, truly deserves the title of a world championship event.
Beyond the crowds, there are other things that separate Kona from all other events. Every year, triathlon royalty descends on Kona to celebrate the spirit of Ironman. Legends Dave Scott, Mark Allen, and Paula Newby-Fraser and Hall of Famers Mike Reilly and Bob Babbitt are in attendance virtually every year. Plus you have roughly 100 current pro triathletes in town to compete in the race. All of them are out and about, hosting and participating in events at local restaurants, through Ironman, at vendor booths, and at the Expo. The celebrity selfie opportunities are endless!
Speaking of the Expo, this one is like no other. You’ve got the official Expo, about a quarter-mile from the pier which houses the transition area. Nearer to the pier, you’ve got the main merchandise tent and the mini-merch tent. But then, for a solid half-mile down Ali’i Drive (the beachside road that is famous for the race’s finisher’s chute), you’ve got the “unofficial” Expo: dozens and dozens of tents from every triathlon apparent, equipment, and nutrition vendor you can think of. Some go so far as to create pop-up stores right there on Ali’i drive, and many offer limited edition Kona apparel and swag specially designed to commemorate the race. Which is all to say: if you head to Kona, bring a wad of cash and an extra duffel to accommodate all the shopping you’ll inevitably do during your trip.
Finally, as if you weren’t busy enough chasing down triathlon royalty for that coveted Instagram shot and snagging as much Kona swag as you can without tipping over into overweight baggage surcharges, you’ve also got to make time for the non-stop event schedule. There are daily swims from the Pier, so popular that they require a pop-up bag check tent for several hours each morning and include a stop at the famous coffee boat, about a half-mile off-shore from the pier. There are big-ticket events like the VIP Aloha Reception and the Evening of Champions, the ever-popular Thursday morning Underpants Run, pro meet and greet’s at sponsor tents, Bob Babbitt’s daily “Breakfast with Bob” interviews, and so so so much more.
I think this is why so many make the trip to Kona as spectators, rather than as (or in different years than as) competitors. Race week in Kona is all about soaking in the best of everything the sport has to offer and hoping to pick up just enough good juju from Madame Pele as to get to come back again another year.
With so many up and coming bike manufacturers in the triathlon market, athletes are starting to venture away from the bigger names. At this year’s IRONMAN World Championship, the numbers show the shift has begun.
Cervélo Reigns Again at Kona Bike Count but Gap Closes
A group of 30 industry experts came together on Friday to tally the makeup of all 2,500 bikes to check-in on the Kona Pier ahead of the Ironman World Championship.
The count has served for years as a global bellwether of buying patterns among athletes in the endurance triathlon space.
Toronto-based Cervélo again took top honors in the bike category, but the decade-long leader had 74 fewer bikes on the pier this year than last. The big movers chipping away at Cervelo’s lead were Canyon (28 more bikes than last year), QR (13 more), Dimond (12 more), and Scott (10 more).
Zipp again won the wheel category, but with 287 fewer wheels than last year.
The 303Triathlon team attending this morning’s pre-race press briefing. Here are some snippets from the introduction by IRONMAN CEO Andrew Messick and the pro panel that followed.
Highlights from Andrew Messick’s “State of IRONMAN”:
The next location for the 70.3 World Championship race was announced! Taupo, New Zealand in November of 2020.
2018 is shaping up to be IRONMAN’s best year ever, with 225,000 unique athletes participating events around the globe – up 10% from 2017.
IRONMAN’s 2018 partnership with Facebook has allowed them to create a bigger, broader broadcast platform with live coverage of many races, including 20 hours of live coverage, from 4 am to 1 am, for Saturday’s world championship race.
2019 will feature 41 full-distance IRONMAN races and 117 70.3s, with new races in Oman, Greece, Russia, and India.
Highlights from the pros:
Javier Gomez is excited to get out of his comfort zone in his first go at Kona. As for his expectations for Sunday, he said: “the race will put me in my place.”
Mirinda Carfrae and Tim O’Donnell both mentioned their daughter Izzy, born just over a year ago, when discussing this year’s race. Rinny has been “pleasantly surprised” with how her season has gone after coming back after giving birth and she’s excited to see how she measures up against the new talent in the sport. Tim acknowledged that he was mentally and emotionally drained at last year’s race, which was only a few weeks after Izzy’s birth; as for this year, he said he’s not phased by pressure to be the next American to win Kona: “it’s not the result, it’s the process.”
Sebastian Kienle, who won in 2014, said he’s motivated more by his disappointing finish last year: “there is nothing more dangerous to success in the future than success in the past.”
The panel concluded with a few questions from the audience. Noah Aldrich (12) asked the first question. Noah has completed 17 triathlons in tandem with his brother, Lucas (10), who suffers from a rare neurological condition called lissencephaly, and asked the pros what advice they would give to a young triathlete who hopes to one day be a pro. Patrick Lange advised him to have “fun, fun, fun” with the sport, and said to Noah, “it’s not that we’re inspiring you, you’re inspiring us.”
More than anything, I was struck by the friendship and camaraderie evident among the pros as they entered and concluded the panel. While they are clearly fierce competitors on the course, there is obvious respect and fellowship between them as well.
From IRONMAN (Oct. 8, 2018) – IRONMAN, a Wanda Sports Holdings company, is excited to announce unprecedented global coverage from the Island of Hawai`i for the 2018 IRONMAN® World Championship brought to you by Amazon. This year as IRONMAN celebrates 40 Years of Dreams, nearly 20 hours of live coverage is scheduled and will be available through NBCSN, NBC and NBCSports.com in the United States and globally on www.facebook.com/IRONMANNow. Beginning in the early morning hours with athlete body marking, the dynamic coverage will take viewers through the male and female professional races and all the way through the event’s final finisher just after midnight.
“There is no better way to celebrate IRONMAN’s 40th Anniversary and the amazing achievements of our athletes from around the world than with coverage that takes viewers inside the action,” said Matthieu Van Veen, Chief Revenue Officer for IRONMAN. “As we celebrate this important milestone in our history, we are proud to be able to work with premiere global media companies to give an unprecedented look inside the pinnacle event of endurance sports.”
Coverage for the 2018 IRONMAN World Championship brought to you by Amazon triathlon begins Tuesday, October 9 with daily live shows at 2 p.m. ET from the Island of Hawai`i, running through race day on www.facebook.com/IRONMANNow. The daily coverage will bring the global audience to the island with behind-the-scenes access to the athlete preparation, interviews with professional athletes, age groupers, legends of the sport as well as presentations of the legendary course and event
The IRONMAN World Championship brought to you by Amazon will be broadcast in the USA through the various platforms of NBC Sports including the live start of the race on NBCSN on Saturday, October 13 from 12:30-2:00 p.m. ET with live reports airing on NBCSB and NBC throughout race day and the live race coverage on NBCSports.com. A full race highlight program will air on NBCSN, Sunday, October 14 from 12:00-1:00 a.m. ET and 1:00-2:00 p.m. ET.
The IRONMAN Now channel on Facebook Watch will provide 20 hours of live coverage on race day.
The live body marketing show will air from 10:40-11:40 a.m. ET, and will feature a fully-produced, “red carpet” event as athletes prepare for their race. Paula Newby-Fraser, 8x IRONMAN World Champion will join IRONMAN World Champion Greg Welch, 3x IRONMAN Champion Michael Lovato and IRONMAN Europe Commentator Paul Kaye to capture the tension and excitement of this unique element of our sport.
Live in-depth race coverage will begin at 12:10 p.m. ET. and continue through the male and female professional races.
Coverage will continue at 5:20am ET on Sunday, October 14, with the Finish Line Party, an inspiring celebration of the IRONMAN World Championship as the 2018 crowned champions will come back to the celebratory finish line with as spectators cheer on the final athletes as they cross the magical finish line.
Producing this year’s event is Amaury Sport Organisation (A.S.O.), a best-in-class television production company that is highly experienced in Live coverage of endurance sports events such as the Tour de France to audiences around the world. The live-action will include more cameras than ever before and aerial imagery that will put viewers into the heart of the race, showcasing the amazing beauty and grueling conditions that the island of Hawai’i is known for.
Kailua-Kona, located on the west coast of the Island of Hawai`i, offers the perfect year-round climate and is an ideal location for this iconic, single-day sporting event. The 2018 field of athletes will tackle the ROKA 2.4-mile ocean swim in Kailua Bay, followed by the Ventum 112-mile bicycle ride along the Queen Ka’ahumanu Highway from Kailua-Kona to the turnaround in Hawi, capped with a 26.2-mile HOKA ONE ONE run beginning on Ali’i Drive, where spectators pack the roads, up Palani Road to the Queen Ka’ahumanu Highway, before making their way to the infamous Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawai`i Authority. Athletes will complete their journey to the roar of tens of thousands of spectators as they cross the historic Ali’i Drive finish line.
For live tracking, real-time results and instant tracking notifications, fans can follow both professional and age-group athletes on the IRONMAN Tracker app, available for download from iTunes App Store and Google Play.
NBC will air this year’s installment of the Emmy Award Winning IRONMAN World Championship brought to you by Amazon broadcast special on Saturday, November 24, from 2:30-4:00 p.m. ET.
*What kind of bike do you ride? Trek Speed Concept 9.9–white with multicolored stripes.
*Where did you qualify for the Ironman World Championships? Qualified at Hawaii 70.3, June 2.
*How many Ironman races have you done? This will be my 13th IM.
*How many times have you raced Kona? This will be my 10th Kona IM.
*What is your favorite non-race activity on the Big Island – if you have not been – what non-race activity are you most excited about? Walking down Alii Drive both the day before the race and the day after, and taking it all in, reflecting on the magic of race day. Other, just in case that’s too connected to the race!: going to the state park beach between town of Kona and the airport (I forget the name of it).
*What is your favorite bike training route? What else? The Queen K!
*What is your favorite post workout/post race treat? Chocolate shake with extra protein.
*What was one unexpected occurrence on your path to Kona? Unexpectedly, my foot has been injured since March, and hasn’t healed. So this will be a very different Kona for me this year, just doing the swim and bike. It is not the way I’d intended to wind up my Kona and IM chapter, but there will be different gifts that day. I will try to be alert to receive them!
*Who do you think will win the pro men’s and women’s races this year? Wouldn’t it be fun if Mirinda Carfrae and Tim O’Donnell both won!?!
38 Team Colorado athletes will join approximately 2,500 others at this year’s 2018 IRONMAN World Championship race in Kona. Two Team Colorado returning Age Group champions from the 2017 race, Diana Hassel and Simon Butterworth, are highlighted in the article from IRONMAN regarding this year’s field.
From IRONMAN (Oct 5, 2018) – Approximately 2,500 of the world’s top athletes will compete in Kailua-Kona, Hawai`i on Saturday, October 13 at the most iconic one-day endurance event in the world — the 2018 IRONMAN® World Championship brought to you by Amazon. IRONMAN, a Wanda Sports Holdings company, will celebrate the history of IRONMAN and the seminal event that continues to inspire so many, by bringing the world’s best triathletes together in competition on the 40th Anniversary of the original IRONMAN event.
This year’s edition of the IRONMAN World Championship will yet again welcome the largest international athlete field in race history with athletes hailing from 82 countries, regions and territories. Athletes ranging in age from 18 to 85 have earned their world championship opportunity by qualifying at one of more than 40 IRONMAN events worldwide.
This year, Europe represents 46 percent of the field, while North America closely follows with 34 percent of athletes registered to race in the IRONMAN World Championship. Asia-Pacific brings eight percent of participants, with South America at seven percent.
“The evolution of this race over the past 40 years, from its modest beginnings to the iconic globally recognized phenomenon it has become, is truly extraordinary,” said Andrew Messick, President and Chief Executive Officer of IRONMAN. “From the very first race on the shores of Oahu, Hawai`i in 1978, IRONMAN has carved out a unique legacy in sports history and the pinnacle IRONMAN World Championship event showcases the best global competitors from around the world every year. We look forward to the next 40 years as our athletes continue to shape history through extraordinary feats and life-altering journeys.”
The United States of America is the most represented nation with 640 registered competitors, followed by Germany (215), Australia (208), and the United Kingdom (130). Athletes will travel from 46 U.S. states, with the greatest number coming from California (91), followed by Hawai`i (45), Texas (44), Colorado (38), and New York (35). Others from countries as far as South Africa, Brazil and Uzbekistan are traveling around the globe for their shot at a title.
This year, returning age-group champions from the 2017 IROMAN World Championship on the women’s side include Sione Jongstra (NLD), Michaela Rudolf (AUT), Diana Hassel (USA) and Missy LeStrange (USA). On the men’s side, returning age-group champions include Antoine Mechin (FRA), Guillaume Montoisy (BEL), Christophe Lemery (FRA), Rick Simpson (USA), Simon Butterworth (USA) and Fidel Rotondaro (VEN).
Racing alongside the returning age-group winners is an inspiring group of athletes that includes:
Jordan Bethke, a former pro triathlete and current U.S. Navy EOD Officer stationed in Hawai`i, who will be racing to support Kenton Stacy (#StacyStrong), a fellow EOD Officer critically wounded while serving in Syria
Rachel Brenke, a cancer survivor, mother of five, lawyer, and entrepreneur shows her commitment to sport and ability to balance what life can bring while achieving her goals
Leigh Chivers, who after suffering personal tragedies with the loss of both his wife Sara and 18-month-old son Alfie to brain cancer, will be looking to honor them while completing one of his wife’s dying wishes, to compete at the IRONMAN World Championship
Marcus Cook, in only a year and a half, Marcus dropped from 489lbs down to 233lbs. Following the death of close friend, Marcus decided to make huge lifestyle changes and now attribute his success to triathlon and will race for the IRONMAN Foundation after raising over $100,000 on his way to preparing for Kona.
Isabella del la Houssaye, is a mother of five, suffering from stage 4 lung cancer and has completed 15 IRONMAN events and 100 total marathons including one in each of 49 states. Isabella will race for the IRONMAN Foundation with the support of Ventum, and on race day, with the completion of the run portion of the IRONMAN World Championship brought to you by Amazon triathlon, Isabella will check the box for completing a marathon in all 50 states.
Elle Goodall, who dropped over 250lbs (115 kg) in a stunning lifestyle change that has taken her from fast food addict to the start line of this historic event
Bob Jordan, a father who was gifted an entry to the 1997 IRONMAN World Championship after his five-year-old daughter suffering from leukemia wrote letter to IRONMAN. 20 years later Bob qualified at IRONMAN Maryland and will race in her memory this year in Kona.
Kyle and Brent Pease, a dynamic team of brothers, Brent competing with his and younger brother Kyle, who has spastic quadriplegia cerebral palsy, will look to raise awareness for, motivate and enable athletes with disabilities in the brothers first trip to the IRONMAN World Championship
Sarah Reinertsen, the first above-the-knee amputee to finish the IRONMAN World Championship (in 2005) and a gold medal winning para-triathlete returns to Kona to celebrate her place in history and IRONMAN’s “40 Years of Dreams.”