The 17th Hour at Kona

I have heard that some people visit Hawaii to relax, just nobody that I know.

I arrive on the Tuesday before the race, which is late by some standards, but having shot the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon on Sunday it is the earliest I can arrive. After several years there, I have it pretty dialed in. I get picked up at the airport at 6:00; my scooter gets dropped off at the hotel at 7:00 and at 7:30 I meet friends for dinner. The next day, continues with media events and all that stuff.

From the athlete side, while there are only about 80 professional triathletes racing, this is the opportunity for almost 2,000 age group triathletes fulfill their dream of competing in the Ironman World Championship.  They come from all over the world, with coaches, family members and an entourage, which they richly deserve.

As the week approaches race day the energy in the air definitely changes, with last minute preparations, planning pre-race meals and getting as much rest as possible.

The short version is that race day arrives, the canon fires, and for the next 17 hours these amazing athletes light up the Big Island’s Kona Coast.

The Pro’s have already gone back, eaten and showered by the time that many of the age group athletes are anywhere near the finish. I stayed at the finish line until the 5th Pro Woman had finished and then back to the hotel to edit and to post a gallery to Triathlete.com.

At 9:30 PM I headed back down Ali’i drive to the finish line. The finishers coming through had now been on the course for almost double the time of the winner! I was planning on staying 30 minutes, getting some context shots and then heading to bed!

The crowd was on fire. Instead of 30 minutes, I stayed 2-1/2 hours! Fabulous!

Here are a few snaps from the biggest party on race day, truly inspirational!

2012 Ironman World Championship

Beth Ann Telford, racing with a brain tumor celebrates her victory!

2012 Ironman World Championship

Beth Ann Telford, racing with a brain tumor celebrates her victory!

2012 Ironman World Championship

Although the number of media have decreased, the crowd is huge at the finish.

2012 Ironman World Championship

2010 Ironman World Champion Mirinda Carfrae welcomes finishers!

2012 Ironman World Championship

Newly crowned King of Kona, Pete Jacobs celebrates with his fans.

2012 Ironman World Championship

The Royal Couple – Pete Jacobs and Leanda Cave!

2012 Ironman World Championship

Fireman Rob did the marathon in full fire gear!

2012 Ironman World Championship

Friends from TYR keep the party going!

2012 Ironman World Championship

Bonner Paddock, Newport CA, finishes with energy to spare!

2012 Ironman World Championship

Hawaiian dancers close out the night!

Here is my full Triathlete.com 17th Hour Gallery

More soon!

3 thoughts on “The 17th Hour at Kona

  1. It’s so great to see these photos. We were very disappointed with the NBC coverage this year. They showed a handful of the pros, but there were barely any stories about the age groupers, disabled athletes, or people racing for various causes. Thanks for sharing these!

  2. Hi and thanks for the kind words. I know many of the NBC video guys and they are truly fabulous at what they do! Unfortunately for 2012, the decision was made to broadcast the show only 2 weeks after the race instead of in early December as in prior years. This timing truly limited their opportunity to provide the depth we have all come to love. Let’s hope that it will be back for 2013.

    Cheers,

    Paul

    • I figured they moved it up so early because everyone was expecting Lance to race. It’s too bad that it had to be so rushed. We look forward to it every year, so hopefully 2013 will be back to normal!

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