Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Ironman Kona 2011

Craig Alexander, Ironman Kona 2011 Winner
Craig Alexander, Ironman Kona 2011 Winner.
It was a day of heat, of course record times, of drama, and certainly all the spirit that embodies Ironman. Anyone who finishes this race anywhere, but especially here on the desolate lava fields of Kona, deserves to be called an Ironman. They earn it!

Craig Alexander won the Kona race on Saturday and added his name to an elite list of four guys who have won the world championship event at least three times. He now joins Dave Scott, Mark Allen, and Peter Reid with that accomplishment. And not only did he improve his 4th place 2010 finish but he also set a new Kona course record time of 8:03:56. It's been a good year for him - he's also the first to win world championships at Kona and in the Ironman 70.3 race in the same year.

Chrissie Wellington, Ironman Kona 2011 Women's Winner
Chrissie Wellington, Ironman Kona 2011 Women's Winner.
There are women in the race too, and this year Chrissie Wellington was back. Last year she came down with a case of the flu and dropped out on the day of the race. This year she crashed going around a corner on a flat tire during her last long training ride two weeks before the race, tore a pectoral muscle and collected some nasty road rash. On Tuesday before the race she had to check herself into the hospital after an especially painful swim. Despite all this she managed to survive the swim and powered thru the bike and run to win here again. Her 4th Kona championship in five years.

Conditions for the race were near perfect this year with only a little bit of a swell on the swim and extremely light winds for most of the day. It was on the hot side, but hey... it's Kona! 1,859 athletes representing more than 50 countries and nearly all 50 USA states started. 1,854 began the bike course. 1,818 started the run. 1,773 finished, 476 ladies and 1,297 men (95.4%). Competitors ranged in age from 18 to 81 years old!

I did my 18 hour day with NBC Sports once again and collected another nice set of Ironman photos. Over the course of the next week or so I'll be posting selects on my Kona Ironman 2011 PBase galleries. Stop by and have a look if you're interested.

A long day begins
A Long Day Begins.

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