There is a short spot on Ali’i Drive on the Kona run course that exemplifies the beauty of the Big Island. It’s at 3.1 miles on the way out and about 6 miles on the way back to the pier. For 50 yards, there are no hotels, no parking lots, no condos, and no guard rails – just a road that passes unobstructed in front of the beautiful Pacific Ocean. There might be a lone surfer, a fishing boat or a watercraft far on the distance. But visually it offers a pure match of triathlete and ocean at a moment early in the race where the runners are at their peak form and hopes are highest.
All photographs © Timothy Carlson
Patrick Lange of Germany ran 2:39:45 to break Mark Allen’s venerable 26-year old Kona run record by 19 seconds. He also took 3rd in his Ironman World Championship debut.
The duelists: Jan Frodeno ran a 2nd-best 2:45:34 on his way to his 2nd straight Kona victory in 8:06:30; Sebastian Kienle ran a 4th-best 2:49:03 to finish 2nd, 3:32 behind his fellow German.
Ben Hoffman of the U.S. ran a 6th-best 2:51:45 on his way to 4th place and top American in 8:13:00.
Andi Bocherer of Germany ran an 8th-best 2:52:05 split on his way to 5th place in 8:13:25.
Timothy O’Donnell of the U.S. ran a 13th-fastest 2:55:01 marathon to finish 6th in 8:16:20.
Boris Stein of Germany ran a 14th-fastest male pro split of 2:55:19 on his way to 7th place – thanks primarily to a race-best 4:23:04 bike split.
Bart Aernouts of Belgium ran a 3rd-fastest 2:48:44 run split to finish 8th overall.
Ivan Rańa of Spain ran a 6th-best 2:50:17 split to finish 9th in 8:21:51.
Frederik Van Lierde of Belgium, the 2013 Kona champion, ran an 11th-best 2:53:21 on his way to 10th place. He was heavily discouraged by a 5-minute penalty on the bike.
Lionel Sanders of Canada (left) and Terenzo Bozzone of New Zealand (right) dueled fiercely on Ali’i Drive. Bozzone DNF’d later on the run and Sanders faded to a 33rd-best 3:17:01 marathon and a 29th male pro finish.
Daniela Ryf of Switzerland won her second straight Kona title and proved she could run well at Kona with a women’s-best 2:56:51 marathon split – 9:46 better than her previous two efforts and 1:29 better than 2nd place Mirinda Carfrae.
Mirinda Carfrae was hampered by glute problems on her way to a women’s 2nd-best 2:58:20 run and 2nd place.
Heather Jackson of the U.S. ran a women’s 8th-best 3:07:48 split on her way to a breakthrough podium performance.
Anja Beranek of Germany ran a women’s 15th-best 3:16:35 split on her way to a 4th overall women's finish.
Kaisa Lehtonen of Finland had a smashing Kona debut – 5th place woman capped by a 4th-best 3:03:16 run.
Ever-sunny Michelle Vesterby of Denmark ran a 10th-best 3:12:27 marathon on her way to a 6th place woman finish.
In her Kona farewell, Mary Beth Ellis, the legendary Honey Badger, fought badly congested lungs to run 3:33:42 on her way to a 14th-place women's pro finish.
Hopes were high for superb cyclist and runner Melissa Hauschildt in her oft-delayed Kona debut, but the swift-footed Aussie had a bad day and DNF’d on the run.
Cancer doctor Lucy Gossage fought hard to overcome a broken collarbone 54 days out from Kona. She ran a women’s 9th-best 3:12:15 split on her way to a 9th-place finish, one place better than last year.
Jodie Swallow was one of the pre-race favorites (she finished 4th in 2014) but had an off day. She faded to a 22nd pro woman finish with a survival slog 3:42:56 marathon.