2009 Ford Ironman World Championship Photo Essay

Photos: Bakke-Svensson/Ironman

Shooters: Eric Lars Bakke, Ben Hays & Tony Svensson

The pier at 06:00. To the right is the sacred heiau dedicated by King Kamehameha the Great to the god of peace and prosperity.

Two-time winner Chrissie Wellington of the United Kingdom sitting alone preparing for the day ahead. Curiously, of the several thousand people on the pier, no one interrupted her.

The pier after the pro field has left the inner bay, some ten minutes before the 07:00 mass start.

The mass start from the pier with the Hulihee Palace and the church steeple in the background.

First out of the water in 47:42 is 34-year-old professional triathlete John Flanagan, III from Mililani, Hawaii.

Now that the race is on, Chrissie is all smiles.

With a 58:45 swim, Australia's Mirinda Carfrae is almost eight minutes behind the first woman out of the water.

Chris Lieto of Danville, CA is three minutes down out of the water. He takes the lead halfway through the bike.

Eric Gilsenan handing out splits to the second-place swim finisher Andy Potts of Colorado Springs, CO.

Chrissie out on the lava.

Thirty-one-year-old Rachel Joyce of the UK showing perfect cycling form.

Eric writes: "Cyclists were greeted by the stare of a goat skull mysteriously mounted on the post of a guardrail just south of Hawi. If you are wondering , I didn't put it there either!"

Fourth-place finisher Chris McCormack relaxing on the bike on the way back from Kawaihae, after the Scenic Point climb.

Eventual third-place finisher, Virginia Berasategui of Bilbao, Spain putting the hammer down near the famous Mounds.

Chris slammed the first 15 km on the run and paid the price after the Palani Road hill. Last-year's winner Craig Alexander who was running next to Andreas Raelert of Germany (who finished third) would catch him a few minutes later.

Ms. Indefatigable in full stride on Alii Drive.

Right near the intersection of Queen Kaahumanu and the road to the Natural Energy Labs of Hawaii (NELH or "Nellie") is this Ford arch which Chris Lieto has just passed on the way back from the Nellie turnaround to Kailua town.

With about seven km to go, Craig Alexander has just dropped Chris who would regroup and hang on to second place.

Craig Alexander captures his second consecutive win in Kona. His splits were 50:57, 4:37:33 and 2:48:05 (the day's fastest run). With transitions his total time was 8:20:21.

Chrissie makes it three in a row in Kona with a record time of 8:54:02. Her splits were 54:31, 4:52:07 and 3:03:06.

Mirinda Carfrae ends up a strong second in her first Ironman distance race breaking the women's run course record in the process. Her run split was an impressive 2:56:51.

Sunset runner close to town and an eleven hour finish.

Another great Kona sunset as backdrop to runners coming up the hill from Nellie right before the Ford arch.