After an excellent start that saw him up with the leaders well into the bike, Tyler Butterfield had to serve a 5 minute bike drafting penalty and then pulled out early on the run at today’s Ironman World Championships which saw Germany sweep the podium positions.
Tyler was in touch with the leaders after a solid 50:07 for the swim and soon joined a large group of over 20 men all within a minute of each other. With the new 12 meter gap drafting rule and still only 25 secs to move infront of a competitor you are passing it was almost inevitable that such a large group would incur penalties and that was the case with at least half of the lead group having to stop, dismount and wait in the draft tent. Once out of touch with the pace of the front group it was always going to be hard for Tyler and his 4:48:20 bike split saw him enter T2 in 40th place, over 21 minutes behind seven of the pre race favorites, including defending champion Jan Frodeno and 2014 champion, Sebastian Kienle, both from Germany.
Tyler’s run splits stop after the 5th mile so I am assuming that he stopped before then. Plagued by injury and illness this year it was always going to be tough for Tyler to reproduce last year’s spectacular 5th place and he will now have to regroup and plan for another assault next year on this most brutal and heartbreaking of races.
Frodeno the 2015 Ironman and Ironman 70.3 champion ( he opted not to defend his 70.3 title in 2016) always looked in control of the race as he slowly inched away from Kienle on the run with relentless mile splits in the 6 : 15 range that Kienle, despite running well, just could not match. Frodeno soon opened up a solid gap on Kienle and crossed the line in one of the fastest times for these championships in 8 hrs 06 mins 30 secs with Kienle, who had to make up over 4 minutes on the leaders after the swim, second in 8:10:02.
For the first time in many years, 7 athletes had come off the bike together so 3rd place looked likely to come from this strong group but it was another German, Patrick Lange,who produced a stunning run of 2:39:45 in his first Kona outing to break Mark Allen’s run record that has stood since 1989, and third place by running from 23rd place off the bike after serving a 5 minute penalty. Lange ran the last mile in 5 mins 58 secs and whilst Frodeno and Kienle were clearly sufering, Lange was jumping up and down after he crossed the line.
Meanwhile Switzerland’s Daniela Ryf, the defending champion, dominated the women’s race as she emerged from the water with a leading group of 13 women and then blew the field apart on the bike to enter transition with a big lead including over 22 minutes on Australia’s Mirinda Carfrae, who some though might run her down. Ryf though produced a very strong run over just over 2 hrs 56 minutes to finish in 8:46:46, 31st overall and with a new course record. Carfrae finished 2nd with the USA’s Heather Jackson in 3rd.
For results go here