2019 Ironman World Championship Photo Essay

Photos © Tony Svensson/IRONMAN™

Triathlon in general and IRONMAN™ races in particular require considerable funds. This gorgeous, top-of-the-line aerodynamic bike with matching wheels and groupset is pretty much the latest, and it’s even a bit more affordable than the white craft in the upper right hand corner of this image.

This shows some of the original documentation from the first Ironman in February of 1978 on the island of Oahu as it was conceived of by John & Judy Collins. The winner is Gordon Haller who caught the leader John Dunbar on the run, which maps with the written archives.

Years later, the brilliant duo of Paul Huddle and Roch Frey put on their thinking hats and organized the first Under Pants Run. It has since grown enormously. The (considerable) proceeds are donated to charity. This image shows the reading of The Pledge right before the start of the event.

The professional men’s swim start. To the left in the image are the women professionals who would start five minutes later.

Lucy Charles-Barclay of Great Britain is first out of the water in 49:02.

The swim finish on Dig Me Beach.

Anne Haug of Germany in the swim to bike transition. At this point, she was just over five minutes behind the leader Lucy Charles-Barclay.

Double amputee Roderick Sewell having just finished the swim in an impressive 1:09. His swim was entirely upper body! To the left in the image is his handler, none other than the amazing Rudy Garcia-Tolson, himself a celebrated swimmer and multisport athlete.

This year had very little sun and cloud cover on most of the course.

Jan Frodeno alone in the lead less than a mile before the bike to run transition.

Anne Haug shortly before the bike to run transition. Notice that she has already loosened the velcro straps on her cycling shoes. Also, that chainring is not for the faint-of-heart. Her splits for the day were 54:09, 4:50:18, 2:51:07, for a total of 8:40:10. The top eight women were all under nine hours.

Jan Frodeno continues to lead at one of the Queen K aid stations. His splits for the day were 47:31, 4:16:03, 2:42:43 for a total of 7:51:13.

Roderick crosses the finish line in a time of 16:26:59 becoming the first double amputee to finish in Kona.

A shot down the finish line chute as the athletes see it with two finishers deciding to cross the line together.

Leftmost in the back row is Dr. Mike Leahy, himself a 16-time finisher in Kona with his ART (Active Release Technique) crew at the finish shortly after midnight. So, what is ART? My recent and personal datapoint: In August, shooting the US Nationals in swimming at Stanford, I tore the meniscus in my right knee. After a successful arthroscopic procedure, the world class surgeon prescribed half a dozen physical therapy appointments over several weeks in California. Since I had to be in Kona, I instead asked Mike. He took a look, pushed-pulled-prodded and 10 minutes later he was done: “You don’t need any physical therapy, just don’t do anything stupid.” I’m now back to my usual exercise schedule. The bit about not doing anything stupid? No guarantees.

The top ten women on stage at the Awards Banquet with winner Anne Haug raising the “nut head” trophy.

The top ten men on stage at the Awards Banquet with winner Jan Frodeno raising the “nut head” trophy.