2014 Ironman World Championship Photo Essay

Photos © Tony Svensson

Preparing for an Ironman takes painstaking attention to detail: Great Britain’s Rachel Joyce in the early morning getting ready.

On that same topic: Swiss athlete Caroline Steffen’s bike shoe set-up.

This year's athletes were organized into four wave starts: The men’s age groupers some five minutes after their gun went off.

Even with four waves, swimming in Kona is not for the weak of heart: Here are the age group women.

First out of the water, again, is American Andy Potts closely followed by Germany’s Jan Frodeno.

Almost five minutes behind Andy Potts, Sebastian Kienle of Germany leaves the swim to bike transition area.

Some seven minutes behind the lead woman, last year’s winner Mirinda Carfrae of Australia leaves the transition area.

To the left is Transition Director David Huerta and to the right Swim Director Jan War. If you have designs on any kind of success in Kona, follow this advice: If these guys say “jump” you ask only how high, in which direction and when. Good karma inevitably follows.

Eventual race winner Sebastian Kienle on the the hot and windy lava fields approaching the long climb before the Scenic Point. He set a blistering pace on one of the windiest days in recent memory...and with the third fastest bike split in race history.

About ten minutes behind Sebastian is Andy Potts also showing perfect aerodynamic form.

Kona rookie Daniela Ryf of Switzerland in the lead. Mirinda Carfrae did not catch her until the 22-mile mark on the run.

Mirinda right after the Scenic Point on the way back to Kailua-Kona. She later started the run over 14 minutes down to the race leader.

Got Red Bull, life is good!

There is some vegetation on the lava fields. Some.

Cherie Gruenfeld on the lava. She eventually won the 70-74 age group and would have won 65-69, as well. By over two minutes.

Eight-time Olympic medalist Apolo Ohno in the latter part of the run.

CAF athlete Jason Gradyan climbing the first hill on Palani Road right after the bike to run transition. This climb took ten minutes!

Chris Cassidy’s Space Station buddy and fellow astronaut Luca Parmitano of Italy approaching the finish: Mission accomplished, in style.

In more recent years, overall top contenders have come back to the finish line to greet midnight finishers with leis. Mirinda Carfrae’s winning times were 1:00:14, 5:05:48, 2:50:26 and 9:00:55; Sebastian Kienle’s were 54:38, 4:20:46, 2:54:36 and 8:14:18.

The Ironman World Championship finish near midnight should be on everybody’s bucket list. From the other side...