Tyler Butterfield will take to the start line this Saturday 7th May at the Ironman 70.3 North American Championships and will be joined there by a strong contingent of Bermuda long distance racers, including brother Spencer and cousin Ashley Estanwik.
Last year Tyler suffered a mechanical in this event and as a consequence trailed the leaders on to the run as he finished the bike in over 2 hrs 18 mins with the top contenders finishing between 2 hrs 10 – 14 minutes. As a consequence, he finished 13th so will no doubt be hoping to at least make the top ten this year.
If he is to podium he will need to be on top form as the 2016 event has once again attracted a very strong field. Germany’s Sebastian Kienle, two time gold medalist at the Ironman 70.3 World Championships and last year’s silver medalist in those championships and the 2014 Ironman World Champion, will certainly start as one of the favorites. Canadian Lionel Sanders has won all three 70.3 races he has entered this year including the prestigious Oceanside 70.3 and Texas 70.3 in April. In Texas he had a blistering sub two hour bike and he is renowned for his superb run.Canada’s Brent McMahon won these championships in 2013 and has been second for the past two years. He ia almost certain to be on or close to the podium this year despite failing to finish Ironman 70.3 Texas due to illness.
Ben Hoffman won the South Africa Ironman this year and was runner up at Ironman World Championships in 2014.
Another German, Michael Raelert, has been around for some time now and won the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in 2009 and 2010. Last year he won Ironman 70.3 Miami and on the right day will certainly be in contention for a podium place.
Australian Leon Griffin won Challenge Melbourne last year and was 2nd in the Ironman 70.3 Asia Pacific Championships.
For more on the race click here
You can follow Tyler and each Bermuda athlete and get updates on their progress by going to the results section of the link. See the next blog post coming soon for details of who will be competing from Bermuda in age group racing.
Tim O’Donnell was 3rd in the Ironman World Championships last yer and won his opening 70.3 of the season in Puerto Rico in March.