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!

Opinion: What is happening to the IRONMAN World Championship?

By Khem Suthiwan

IRONMAN announced in early June the 2019 Vega IRONMAN World Championship would feature a new swim start protocol utilizing waves that separates the field into 11 groups. Their reason: to reduce athlete density on the bike course.

As a four-time IRONMAN finisher, to include Kona, I’m not sure what I think about this. Three of my IM finishes were mass starts. The year I raced Kona it was the first time the men and women age groupers had separate mass starts. When I trained for my first one (IRONMAN Canada-Penticton), the allure of the mass start and its spectacle was one of the things that drew me to the race. Now one by one, primarily in North America, races have implemented rolling swim starts and the mass start is about close to extinct.

Khem at the
2015 IRONMAN World Championship Swim Start

While I understand the need to improve the safety for competitors, especially at races that typically draw novice athletes and take place in urban areas (nevermind when you sign up for an IRONMAN you should know what you’re getting yourself into), but at the IRONMAN World Championship? By the time most athletes get to the start line in Kona, they will have raced and trained thousands of hours and miles. Is there really a need? And the reason of reducing athlete density on the bike course, the Queen K Highway is completely closed off to vehicular traffic AND it’s up to the athletes to follow the rules of the bike course (no drafting, blocking, etc.).

So, my question to the universe and all the triathletes that care, is Kona slowly losing its luster? The midnight finish isn’t really midnight in most cases. What’s next? Splitting the women’s and men’s race to two separate days? Rolling swim starts? Who knows, but whatever new protocol that ends up getting implemented next, in my opinion will most likely chip away pieces of the original Kona IRONMAN spirit and excitement.

Donald Trump to race Kona

From 220Triathlon
By Jack Sexty

The eyes of the world fell on the sport of triathlon this morning, as it emerged that President Donald Trump is to compete at the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii this October.

The President’s campaign to ‘Make Kona Great Again’ has been met with derision from the political sphere, with insiders puzzled as to how the POTUS will cope with the demands of training for a 2.4 mile sea swim, 112 mile cycle and 26.2 mile marathon run with no previous experience of racing endurance events, while simultaneously governing the United States.

Morgan Biers, supposedly a close personal friend of Mr. Trump, commented: “They say that transition is triathlon’s fourth discipline… but for my pal Donald being in charge of the world’s largest economic superpower surely has to count as a fifth. If anyone can do it though, *blushes*… the President can!”  

As entry to the World Championships is by qualification only, it is currently unclear how the President managed to secure his entry. Rumours that Mr. Trump actually travelled to one of Ironman’s new 70.3 races in China to qualify were dismissed as “fake news” by the President himself, via a caps-locked Twitter post.

Read the full article here

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.

Why train for a cause?

Team in Training Athlete Dr. Brett Kessler at the turnaround in Hawi

By Bill Plock

Dr. James DeGregori PhD
(Photo by Casey A. Cass/University of Colorado)

Those reasons often transition into causes and those causes are often taken on by a group of people working to help the same cause and obviously most of those causes involve medical conditions, awareness and advocacy.

Clearly many things motivate people to exercise, train and perhaps ultimately compete. We all know of someone inspired by unfortunate circumstances that might have impacted their life or of those they care about. The reasons are countless and often tear jerking and deeply personal.

This past week, 303radio sat down with Dr. James DeGregori PhD and Brett Kessler, DDS to talk about the community of like minded people they train with–Team and Training.

Team in Training is the largest charity endurance training program in the world. They have over 650,000 athletes that have raised over $1 billion to fight cancer, Leukemia and Lymphoma more specifically. Like many teams the connections and friends that are made ultimately make cause the greatest memories.

In this interview James and Brett talk about those connections, their own personal reasons and why’s, but more, they both know Leukemia and Lymphoma first hand as medical professionals that work directly with those effected and by doing research to help find a cure.

Not only will you learn how Team in Training helped them compete in century rides, marathons and even the IRONMAN World Championship in Kona, but you will learn a little about the disease from people on the front lines and extremely driven advocates that will likely offer you some inspiration into your own why.

Racing for a Future Without Cancer

Brett Kessler

Brett Kessler was helping blood cancer patients long before it became personal. He did an oncology fellowship after dental school where his focus was on treating patients affected by blood cancer. Then, he moved to Colorado in 1999 and joined The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society‘s (LLS) Team In Training to meet new people, train and raise money for blood cancer research. He then went on to be a triathlon coach for the program.

Brett shared, “I did not treat this population anymore and still wanted to support them. I was hooked.”

Brett’s mom was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) eight years later. She took imatinib (Gleevac®) through clinical trials which were funded by LLS. Sadly, Brett’s mom passed away in 2016.

He shared, “I felt like I directly contributed to her care from the work I did with LLS. The universe works in amazing ways as Gleevec was not even approved when I started with Team In Training.”

The fundraising Brett has done for the LLS mission through Team In Training is in memory of his mom but is giving hope to future patients through the efforts of local researchers.

The work of Dr. Dan Pollyea and his team of clinical researchers at the University of Colorado School of Medicine is funded by grants such as those from LLS. Three years ago, the team began a clinical trial program for the first therapy that could effectively eradicate leukemia stem cell populations. Dr. Pollyea shared that if you can really eradicate the leukemia stem cells, then you can potentially cure this disease. The results so far have been described as “unbelievable” because they can get 80-90% of people into complete remission with their approach.

Dr. James DeGregori

The work of Dr. James DeGregori at the University of Colorado School of Medicine has also been funded by LLS. He is researching how the human body ages and its effects on how cancer cells find a way to take hold. He is looking at how can we mitigate those changes and interfere with cancer growth with clinical intervention. Dr. DeGregori’s team has done some work on mice to reduce cancer incidences but will they will be approaching their work with humans a bit differently when the time comes.

“As a practicing dentist in Denver, several of my patients have had various forms of blood cancers,” shared Brett. “Knowing that we have some of the best treatments available here in Denver due to the research of people like Dr. Pollyea and Dr. DeGregori makes me feel good that they have a chance to beat this awful disease. Twenty-five years ago, many of these diagnoses were a death sentence. Now they are manageable.”

The success of local researchers continues to inspire Brett. He earned a coveted spot in the 2018 IRONMAN® World Championship event in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, crossing the finish line this past October. He is still raising funds for this event and has raised $67,000 and counting in memory of his mom.

“This is an emotional journey for me,” shared Brett. “I am able to honor my mom by bringing awareness and raising money to help eradicate blood cancers. I am also able to honor the many people who are connected to the disease that I have met along the way.”

Team In Training is the world’s largest and most successful endurance sports fundraising and training program. Since its inception in 1988, Team In Training has raised more than $1.5 billion, trained more than 650,000 people and helped LLS invest more than $1.2 billion in blood cancer research.

Team In Training offers a lineup of innovative high caliber domestic and international events, and prepares teammates for marathons, half marathons, and triathlons, as well as cycling, climbing and hiking experiences, with experienced coaches, training resources, a supportive community and world-class fundraising tools.

Join the team for the Lavaman Waikoloa Triathlon or the Wildflower Experience. To learn more, click here. Use code TRI303 for free Team In Training registration ($100 value, expires 12/31/18).

2018 IM World Championship Replay on NBC

CELEBRATE 40 YEARS OF DREAMS BY TUNING INTO 2018 IRONMAN WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP BROUGHT TO YOU BY AMAZON BROADCAST SPECIAL AIRING ON NBC NOVEMBER 24 AT 4:30 P.M. EST

  • Annual NBC broadcast special returns to spotlight historic victories and the magic of Kona through the Champions and Inspirational Athletes who compete
  • Five-episode broadcast of “IRONMAN: Quest for Kona” to air on November 23 starting at 11:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN following 10 athletes as they attempt to qualify for the 2018 IRONMAN World Championship brought to you by Amazon

TAMPA, Fla. (November 21, 2018) – The annual broadcast special of the IRONMAN® World Championship brought to you by Amazon will air this Saturday, November 24 at 4:30 p.m. ET on NBC, chronicling the iconic triathlon that took place on October 13, 2018 in Kailua-Kona, Hawai`i. Since 1978, the IRONMAN World Championship triathlon has showcased not only the limitless physical capability and competitive nature of the top endurance athletes in the world, but also some of the most awe-inspiring and impactful stories of courage and resilience from the age-group athletes and everyday individuals competing alongside them.

Producing this year’s 90-minute show is Amaury Sport Organisation (A.S.O.), a best-in-class television production company that is highly experienced in coverage of endurance sports events such as the Tour de France to audiences around the world. The broadcast includes more camera angles 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.

Click on the following link for a preview of this year’s broadcast: https://youtu.be/moVDY_8NWtE

The broadcast special spans from the pre-race build-up beginning with body marking to the final hours of the nighttime finish, unveiling the intensity, emotion, physical demands and dramatic competition of the 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike and 26.2-mile run across the rugged Hawaiian terrain. With approximately 2,500 registered athletes, the 40th Anniversary year marked the largest field ever with athletes from a record breaking 82 countries, regions and territories, proving that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE®.

Among the features of this year’s IRONMAN World Championship special:

  • Exclusive interviews from current and former World Champions and other professional IRONMAN® athletes during a record setting day.
  • Defending women’s IRONMAN World Champion Daniela Ryf of Switzerland looks to make history and join an elite group by claiming a fourth consecutive victory as 2017’s second-place finisher Lucy Charles of Great Britain looks to top the podium. Germany’s Anne Haug looks to make a name for herself at this years event.
  • With a perfect display of form and strength, course record holder and last year’s champion Patrick Lange of Germany battles the likes of Belgium’s Bart Aernouts, Great Britain’s David McNamee and American Tim O’Donnell.
  • Mother of five, lawyer, entrepreneur and cancer survivor, Rachel Brenke takes on the ultimate test while redefining what it means to be a modern-day superwoman.
  • Leigh Chivers, who has suffered great personal tragedy following the loss of his wife and young son, looks to honor them while competing at the IRONMAN World Championship
  • Brothers Brent and Kyle Pease motivated by the Hoyts are the epitome of ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE. Born with cerebral palsy, Kyle turned to his brother Brent to help him complete his dream of becoming an athlete. At the 2018 IRONMAN World Championship brought to you by Amazon, they attempt to become only the second special team in history to complete the course.

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

A Record-Breaking IRONMAN World Championship – On Course & Online

by Andrew Messick, CEO at IRONMAN

 

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!”

 

Click Here for Full Article

 

Tim O’Donnell: “I Sent Myself to the Med Tent” to Earn Kona 4th

From Triathlete.com

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.