Tyler Butterfield well content with 15th at Ironman 70.3 World Championships
Tyler Butterfield was left content after securing a somewhat surprisingly positive result competing in the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in St George, Utah.
The 38-year-old was among a six-strong Bermudian contingent — alongside Ashley Couper, Maddie Durkin, Daniel Samilski, Dirk Hasselkuss and Richard Quinn — at the championships, which brought together the top professional and age-group triathletes from around the world.
Competing in the highly competitive Male Pro Division, Butterfield exited the water from the 1.93-kilometre swim in 24min 48sec, clocked 2:07:39 on the 90.1km cycle and completed the two-lap 21.1km run in 1:15:31, to finish in a respectable fifteenth place in a combined time of 3:50:17. Gustav Iden, of Norway, claimed victory in a time of 3:37:13.
While Butterfield conceded to wanting more from himself, having not planned to compete in the race and enduring less than ideal preparation, he was left satisfied with his endeavours against a field that included world and Olympic champion Kristian Blummenfelt, who finished in 26th place.
“I wasn’t supposed to be competing but I qualified at the last minute and so decided to go,” he said. “I also didn’t have the best preparation, as my running was minimised for around nine weeks because of injury.
“For those reasons I have to be pleased with my result. As an athlete obviously you always want more but on a course that wasn’t suited to me, and a race I wasn’t expected to compete in, I have to be content.
“It was tough, especially on such a hilly and gruelling course. I’m not a hill runner and some of the younger guys are just so quick on the bike.
“It was one of the most brutal courses I have ever raced. The conditions were also brutal and so it just made it incredibly hard.
“You always look at little things you could have done better, but I genuinely felt there wasn’t much more I could have done.
“I felt like I had a great swim, the bike was pretty good and I had a surprisingly strong run. Overall, it was an amazing day and as I get older you become happy to be able to keep racing.”
Among his compatriots also competing, Couper and Durkin both enjoyed impressive outings in the Female 40-44 Division, in which the former clinched a sixth-place finish in 5:12:40, with the latter 32nd in 5:33:45. Cathy Yndestad, of the United States claimed victory in a blistering time of 4:57:17, less than 30 seconds ahead of compatriot Amy Farell.
There was also a spirited performance from Quinn in the Male 25-29 Division where he claimed a 142nd-place finish among 194 entrants, finishing the course in 5:29:27.
In the Male 55-59 division, Hasselkuss crossed the line in 167th overall out of the 201 entrants in 6:23:10, while Samilski completed the course in 5:26:53 to finish 228th overall out of 350 starters in the Male 40-44 Division.
“I didn’t realise we had so many Bermudians competing until I got out to the race,” Butterfield added. “We have such a strong triathlon history and we’ve always had such a strong community of athletes.
“It is so great to see that strength in depth that the island has always had still going strong.
“As I said, we’ve always been able to boast a strong level of triathletes and obviously Flora [Duffy] achieving what she has in recent months and years has gone and taken it to that next level. The sport of triathlon is definitely still in a strong state in Bermuda.”