Apologies that this is a bit behind the Kona news cycle! I had only one professional athlete on the start line, who was there more on a reconnaissance mission for next year. Hence I didn't think my opinion of the race was needed. However our followers wanted to know my view.
After advocating for a female only race for 20 years, I'm pleased to say it has finally happened. That is a good thing, so I hope it continues for the future. Yes there are things for Ironman to improve, but it's a step in the right direction.
I personally didn't see any upset in how the men's race played out. Gustav Iden continues to be the superior long course athlete in the Norwegian camp. Blummenfelt after winning the Olympics and his subsequent stellar performances, deserved all the plaudits that have come his way. However it did throw a shadow over his teammate who deserved a much bigger lauding for his own consistent outstanding performances. I hope he now receives the recognition he richly deserves.
The story of the other athletes is they are not up to this level of performance, and time has caught up with the old guard. However we saw brave challenges from a number of young guns, so there is hope that they and others will rise to this level.
In the women's race, not so much a changing of the guard, but rather the arrival of a world class runner. The ITU has experienced this over the last 5 years, and it will now continue at pace in the long course world.
Before one passes off Chelsea Sodaro as just another good runner in Ironman, this athlete posted run splits during her professional athletics career that no one in ITU has accomplished. Chelsea is the fastest runner to ever compete in triathlon - period. Congratulations for a wonderful race.
Lucy Charles-Barclay once again had an outstanding race. Her consistency over the last four years has been incredible.
I have watched Laura Philipp race for many years, and I don't want to make excuses for her. However, other than Daniela Ryf, Laura is the eminent bike monster in the women's pro field. So to see her receive a penalty on the bike highlighted the need for professional referees at professional races. Part of their education should include studying the best athletes and their strengths so referees have some context of situations before they reach for the penalty card.
Congratulations also go to our contingent of Trisutto age group athletes who competed. For many this was the pinnacle of years of dedication and effort. I hope the experience was everything you had looked forward to.
If you are an athlete determined to be there next year, we are happy to help if it is needed.
Just the way I see it.