Butterfield targets top three Kona finish
Tyler Butterfield is targeting a top three finish at next year’s Ironman World Championship.
The Bermuda triathlete finished fifth in Hawaii in October, an improvement on his seventh-place in the race in 2013.
Now he wants a podium finish, with the unspoken goal of trying to win the hardest race in the sport.
“First I wanted to scrape into the top ten, then the top five,” Butterfield said. “Now I’ve reached that goal and the next step would be top three, and then who knows.
“Honestly, I’d be happy with another top ten. There are another 50 guys gunning for those spots and anything can happen.”
In order to give himself the best chance to succeed, Butterfield intends to mirror the busy 2015 that enabled him to qualify for the race after beginning the year with no Kona Ranking Points.
Not that he needs to. Already third in the 2016 standings, the Bermuda triathlete is guaranteed a spot in next year’s event, but has no intention of taking it easy.
In fact, Butterfield believes that the more he races the better he gets, which is why he will compete at Ironman Cozumel in little more than two weeks, his fourth full triathlon in six months.
“I won’t ease off my race schedule just because I’ve already qualified,” Butterfield said. “Racing frequently suits me, I proved that this year. But I’ll race more of the 70.3 distance. I love that distance.
“It keeps you honest and keeps you testing yourself.”
Butterfield’s road to Kona this year included stops at regional and world championship venues around the globe.
In April, he finished third at the Ironman Brasilia 70.3 South American Championship, and in June was thirteenth at the Ironman 70.3 St George North American Championship
Butterfield then returned to Brazil for a fifth-place finish at the South American Ironman Championship.
There followed another fifth in Mont Tremblant, a seventh-place in Frankfurt, and eighth-place finish in Zell Am See where he was the first North American-based athlete across the line.
The next 12 months are likely to involve a similarly gruelling schedule, which begins on November 29 in Mexico, and once again concludes in Hawaii where Butterfield will again compete alongside the best in the world.
“I do tend to perform well at the big races, in large part because of the guys in front,” Butterfield said. “The opportunity to race against them is a big part of what keeps me committed.”