Video courtesy Ironman, voice of Sherry Bracken
KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – West Hawaii’s biggest event of the year, the Ironman World Championship, was held in Kona this weekend. This year, more than 2,300 triathletes set out early on Saturday morning to tackle the international endurance event, which is known for its iconic 2.4-mile ocean swim at Kailua Pier, followed by the 112-mile bike ride up and down the harsh lava fields of the Kohala coast, finishing with a 26.2 mile marathon run.
- This year’s champion, the German Olympic gold medalist Jan Frodeno, was the first to cross the finish line on Ali’i Drive in 8 hours, 14 minutes, 40 seconds. Another German, Andreas Raelert, finished second in his forth runner-up performance. He passed the day’s third place finisher – American Timothy O’Donnel – late in the run. U.S. athlete Andy Potts took forth place.
- Swiss athlete Daniela Ryf earned her first women’s title, completing the race in 8 hours, 57 minutes, and 57 seconds. Over 10 minutes later, Rachel Joyce of Britain took second place among the women. Australia’s Liz Blatchford came in third.
- The defending, three-time IRONMAN world champion Mirinda Carfrae – the wife of third place finisher Timothy O’Donnel – pulled out of the race during the bike because her back was seizing up.
- The big race also featured numerous inspirational stories… like Tammy Nicholson, who was told she would never walk again after an October 10, 2004 car accident. Eleven years later to the day, she completed the Ironman. As well as paralympian Alex Zanardi, an Italian race car driver whose legs were amputated after a 2001 crash… who is now an Ironman, also.
- There were some celebrity finishers, as well… including Sean Astin, star of blockbuster films “The Goonies,” “Rudy,” and “The Lord of the Rings”