Ironman Butterfield captures Cozumel 70.3
Tyler Butterfield clawed his way back from a considerable deficit to storm to victory at the Mazda Ironman 70.3 Cozumel in Cozumel, Mexico, at the weekend.
The Bermudian triathlete produced a solid run to wipe out a nearly seven-minute deficit after the bike leg to win the event, which comprised a 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike and 13.1-mile run, in 3hr 50min 22sec.
Butterfield started the run in fifth, some 6min 39sec behind leader Rodolphe Von Berg, whom he reeled in and passed in the second half of the race before going on to take the win comfortably in the end.
“Cozumel was a great performance mainly because I had to leave it all out there to get the win,” said Butterfield.
“The guys on the podium are amazing athletes that are in good form right now.
“Rudy Von Berg just got third in the 70.3 World Championships in Nice three weeks ago, so to be able to compete with someone like him means a lot to me.
“I actually didn’t really think I had a chance of winning till 14k on the run when I came around a corner and saw Rudy ahead.
“I was just trying my best and staying focused on running well, hydrating and staying as cool as possible.
“It was amazing to hear the Bermuda national song being played. I think the first time I’ve ever had that.”
Von Berg, of the United States, and Michael Weiss, of Austria, rounded off the men’s podium.
Butterfield completed the half-marathon in a blistering 1hr 14min 45sec, crossing the finish 1min 59sec ahead of Von Berg.
“My running has been good all year since training for the marathon in March,” he said.
“I hope to do a similar schedule next year. Running in the winter is more enjoyable, easy to travel to races without a bike.
“I’d like to come back to Bermuda for Race Weekend and hopefully another marathon next March.
“I would like to do May 24 [Bermuda Day Half Marathon], too.
“This year just didn’t work with Fletcher [son] being born shortly after.”
Butterfield has returned with a bang having opted not to compete at this month’s 70.3 World Championships in Nice, France.
“I chose to skip 70.3 worlds in Nice in early September as the travel was long plus the course didn’t suit me with huge climb and fast, but technical, descent,” he said.
“Nikki, my wife, has been great at helping me stay focused. She said as I get older and with family it seems silly to do races that don’t suit me.
“I’m not in my early 20s trying to gain experience any more. I need to be smart about the races I go to and the training and travel, too.
“It seems to have paid off this weekend. Now I just have to stay on the same path, always easier said than done.”
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