Butterfield storms to fifth in Hawaii
1 Jan Frodeno 08:14:40
2 Andreas Raelert 08:17:43
3 Timothy O’Donnell 08:18:50
4 Andy Potts 08:21:25
5 Tyler Butterfield 08:23:09
6 Cyril Viennot 08:25:05
7 Eneko Llanos 08:28:10
8 Sebastian Kienle 08:29:43
9 Brent McMahon 08:30:13
10 Boris Stein 08:31:43
Tyler Butterfield produced the greatest performance of his triathlon career after recording a sensational fifth-place finish at the Hawaii Ironman World Championships on Saturday.
Up against one of the most formidable fields assembled at Kona, Butterfield, beat his previous best of seventh two years ago, finishing strongly in the scorching conditions in 8hr 23min 9sec — exactly a minute quicker than in 2013.
The 32-year-old’s scintillating showing in arguably the toughest race in the world — a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and a full marathon — proved once again that on his day he is among triathlon’s long-distance elite.
His performance, which was 8:29 behind winner Jan Frodeno, of Germany, eclipsed the seventh-place finish he shared with his father, Jim Butterfield, who competed in the event more than 30 years ago when it was still in its infancy.
The proud Bermudian ran the home stretch of the 140-mile race carrying the Island’s flag before being embraced by his wife Nikki, a top women’s triathlete, daughter Savana and son Walker after crossing the finish line
He later tweeted: “Super happy with the result today and hurt a lot of the way. Thank you for all the support out there and messages! Incredible to read through.
“Almost 2am here in Kona, so I’ll start writing back to everyone tomorrow. But touched by the messages. Thanks so much, it means the world to me.”
Flora Duffy, who won the ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships in Sardinia last month, also took to social media to congratulate Butterfield. “Tyler!!! Incredible race,” she tweeted.
With temperatures on the course in excess of 120 degrees, Butterfield emerged from the water in thirteenth place, clocking 52:33 — just 1:43 behind leader Frodeno, a gold-medal winner at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Butterfield, who failed to finish last year’s race because of a back problem, continued to improve with a 4:29:35 cycle that lifted him into ninth position going into the gruelling 26.2-mile run.
He carried on working his way through the field, moving into eighth after 7½ miles before digging deep into his energy reserves to finish the run in 2:56:19 and secure his place among the top five in the world.
Frodeno, the pre-race favourite, completed the race in 8:14:40, more than three minutes ahead of his compatriot Andres Raelert in 8:17.43, with Timothy O’Donnell, of the United States, placing third in 8:18:50.
“I had good run form, but it was brutal,” Frodeno, who finished third in last year’s race, said.
“No shade at all. If you’re going uphill, your heart rate goes up and it just doesn’t come back down.
“Besides this and the Olympic title, I think nothing else matters. I’ve said it often, this is the Wimbledon of our sport.
“I’m sorry to take it from an American again. I’m glad Tim did not have any garlic last night, he was breathing down my neck. I am just over the world.”
Finishing fourth in 8:21:25 was the US’s Andy Potts, who won the Escape to Bermuda triathlon in 2007.
“By far it’s the best performance I’ve had here,” O’Donnell said. “Andy is a great competitor. He came up to me really close in the Energy Lab, but I was able to pull away. I soon paid for that effort.”
Daniela Ryf, of Switzerland, won the women’s race for her first Ironman title. Ryf was among the first women out of the water and finished in 8:57:57, more than 12 minutes ahead of second-place Rachel Joyce of Britain. Liz Blatchford, of Australia, was third in 9:14:52.
More than 2,300 triathletes started Saturday’s race.