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!

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 https://303triathlon.com/kona2019/

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 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MA5AJCtQRaY

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.

Aloha,

The 303 Team!

IRONMAN World Championships

Kailua-Kona, HA

 

The IRONMAN World Championship centers on the dedication and courage exhibited by participants who demonstrate the IRONMAN mantra that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.® On October 12th, over 2,000 athletes will embark on a 140.6-mile journey that presents the ultimate test of body, mind and spirit to earn the title of IRONMAN.

 

Event details and registration here

 

*To the best of our abilities, this information is correct. Please check the event website for the most accurate information.

303 Team’s Takeaways from Kona

By Bill Plock

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.

The team was graciously sponsored by:

 

 

Infinit Nutrition

Coeur Sports

Base Performance

Blue Competition Cycles

Kona: It’s More Than Just the Race

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:

KONA IM BOULDER
City Population 12,000 111,000
Number of Out-of-Town Athletes 2400 1000
Average Size of Athlete’s Entourage 4 1
Total Entourage 9600 1000
Additional Visitors: Staff, Volunteers, Industry, Media, Triathlon Royalty 3000 200
Total Athletes, Entourage, Visitors 15000 2200
Growth of City Population due to Event 125% 2%

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.

Quick Notes from Today’s IRONMAN Pre-Race Press Conference and Pro Panel

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.

IRONMAN World Championship Features 20 Hours of Live Race Day Coverage

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.