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Butterfield recharged for Kona push

Tyler Butterfield will have a busy start to the new year as he bids to requalify for the Ironman World Championships in Kailua-Konaa, Hawaii.

Butterfield, who is now working with Danish coach Frank Jakobsen, hopes to compete in a triathlon early next year, although that will depend on a family matter with his wife Nikki expecting their third child, a daughter, in January.

This year has been an up and down one for Butterfield, but he is optimistic going into 2017.

“I was going to race a few times at the end of this season, but I started working with a coach and he really didn't want me to,” Butterfield said.

“He wanted me to go back to base, like building a house and putting down the foundation. When you do that you're very tired, not really in race form, but putting down a lot of volume.”

The main event on Butterfield's calendar is the Ironman World Championships in October, a race he placed fifth in 2015.

He failed to finish this year's race because of a calf injury, pulling out five miles into the gruelling 26.1 mile run.

“The plan is to race early next year, I have to requalify for the World Championships because I had a bad one this year,” he said.

“But that's nothing new to me, the year I got fifth I had zero points until April of that year. It's been a good-year bad-year, good-year bad-year, but as far as Kona, on the bad year I've done well in other races leading in.

“It's a long race, an eight-hour day, and there are a few people who are very consistent but a lot of us are very up and down when we get to that top level, racing for that long. However, I'm excited about next year, we have another child on the way and that's the only thing that would maybe make me race a little later than planned.”

My plan is to race as early as January, February, March, then probably do an ironman in April. I'd like to come to Bermuda for the America's Cup for a couple of weeks so I'd like to get my qualification [for Kona] done early.”

At 33, Butterfield insists he still has some good years left, with his sponsors still fully behind him. Taking on Jakobsen as coach is something he is excited about.

“He works for a company called SansEgo, which started with a guy who has won Kona three times, Craig Alexander, who works alongside him,” Butterfield said. “We're working very similar to what I have been doing, he's just keeping me on track a little more.

“He reached out to me in the middle of the year but I said, ‘I don't want to change anything halfway through the year, how about if we chat at the end of the year after Kona'.

“We've only been working together a few weeks and he's using the template my wife and I have been using. We'll make some changes and tweaks and hopefully the results will be more consistent.”

Butterfield's success over the years has enabled him to pick up several sponsors.

“As well as Tokio Millennium Re from Bermuda who have always been behind me, all the industry sponsors — the bike, the shoes, the wheels, the helmet — all want me in Kona and because I've been there before that's why they keep backing me,” he said.

“Once you have proven you can be top ten, you are of value to your sponsors. They want you to win races on the lead-in and that's how you make more income. If you can do well in Kona then you are big for them sponsorship-wise.

“I have a great life and I get to do what I did for fun as a kid, so I'm fulfilling a lifelong dream. Like Flora [Duffy] says, it's ups and down, not flowers and fairytales every day, but it's still a great life. The ironman distance definitely suits older athletes.”

Butterfield is also cognisant that an athlete's life is short and one day it will end. “When I'm older I don't my kids to have a memory of me as only being an athletes who was 100 per cent into athletics but neglected his family and is now retired and grumpy,” he said.

“Yes, it's my job so I need to do well. I have personal goals and my family supports them. They understand that when I race well that I usually come home with a stuffed animal or a little toy for them, so they want me to race well for their own reasons!” track a little more.

“He reached out to me in the middle of the year but I said, ‘I don't want to change anything halfway through the year, how about if we chat at the end of the year after Kona'.

“We've only been working together a few weeks and he's using the template my wife and I have been using. We'll make some changes and tweaks and hopefully the results will be more consistent.”

Butterfield's success over the years has enabled him to pick up several sponsors.

“As well as Tokio Millennium Re from Bermuda who have always been behind me, all the industry sponsors — the bike, the shoes, the wheels, the helmet — all want me in Kona and because I've been there before that's why they keep backing me,” he said.

“Once you have proven you can be top ten, you are of value to your sponsors. They want you to win races on the lead-in and that's how you make more income. If you can do well in Kona then you are big for them sponsorship-wise.

“I have a great life and I get to do what I did for fun as a kid, so I'm fulfilling a lifelong dream. Like Flora [Duffy] says, it's ups and down, not flowers and fairytales every day, but it's still a great life. The ironman distance definitely suits older athletes.”

Butterfield is also cognisant that an athlete's life is short and one day it will end. “When I'm older I don't my kids to have a memory of me as only being an athletes who was 100 per cent into athletics but neglected his family and is now retired and grumpy,” he said.

“Yes, it's my job so I need to do well. I have personal goals and my family supports them. They understand that when I race well that I usually come home with a stuffed animal or a little toy for them, so they want me to race well for their own reasons!”

Change of tack: Butterfield is working with a Danish coach

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Published November 25, 2016 at 8:00 am (Updated November 24, 2016 at 9:04 pm)

Butterfield recharged for Kona push

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