The Post-Kona Crank takes a look at those who made the race and those who missed out at what was a brutal day at the Ironman World Championship last weekend.
- Luke McKenzie – Pre-race Mckenzie flew under everyone’s radar. His standout-performance at Ironman Cairns was in the rear-vision mirror for a lot of scribes. On race day, McKenzie was daring and bold and got the just result for such an enterprising plan. According to Craig Alexander we have not seen the best yet of McKenzie either.
- Frederik Van Lierde – When Van Lierde cruised by in the first three miles of the marathon he looked every bit in control of his world. Forty kilometres later he still was. Van Lierde is a brilliant winner and matched pace with all that mattered on the Queen K when the bike speed was ratcheted up a few notches. A worthy winner. What got us was the lack of talk about him in the press, which we noted on the Thursday pre-race.
- Mirinda Carfrae – There has been a lot of talk about that marathon. What Carfrae did on Saturday was take records and blast the best that ever was off the best time sheet. Carfrae was a gracious winner but pre-race there was something about her that gave us a good vibe.
- Liz Blatchford – After getting over her littering penalty, Blatchford showed what a patient race is all about. She steadily got herself back onto the podium with little fanfare and maximum effort. Given she had to race Ironman Mont Tremblant just qualify after her win at Ironman Cairns in June, it show’s just how resilient the Aussie-based Brit has become in just one season of long course.
- The Women’s Race – The top women’s pros are getting it right and are fun to watch battle it out. With five or six legitimate contenders each year this current crop of pros are lifting the bar again. Caitlin Snow included in that group, with another stellar marathon (2:58) display.
- Speaking of women, keep an eye on the name Catherine Faux – She had the 10th fastest time for women and came from the 25-29 age group. Rumour is she has a lot of talent and while we understand the difference between being a pro and an age grouper, a 9:15 time is very impressive. The other impressive age grouper was Kyle Buckingham, an electrician from Cape Town who went 8:37:26 in the 30- 34 age group.
- ‘Big Sexy’ McDonald on the IM Live Coverage – If ‘Big Sexy’ isn’t racing in Kona next year, the WTC would be doing well to get him back involved in the race day coverage. His voice and insights added a different element to the broadcast and there no doubt would’ve been a few extra ladies watching.
- Tim O’Donnell – His progression over the past three years in Kona has been something to behold. A DNF in his first attempt in 2011, followed by an eighth last year and a career-best fifth-place and first American on the weekend. O’Donnell is beginning to shape and develop into a future contender and this result will ensure he only needs to race one Ironman ahead of Kona next year.
- Pete Jacobs – The 2012 World Champion came into town with a swagger and some confident words, but on the day he only fired a couple of shots and was not a factor in the race at all. Leading early he was soon out-gunned and out-paced as the defending champion found himself relegated to nowhere. His form in Kona in the last three years has been meteoric so he can be forgiven for one omission.
- Bevan Docherty – Docherty has always had swagger and this continued after his great win at Ironman New Zealand. But Kona is a long was from Taupo and it is fair to say Docherty’s last two championship races (Vegas/Kona) have been über failures. He has not finished either and now must go back to the drawing board to see what adjustments he has to make be a factor in Mont Tremblant and Kona next year.
- Andreas Raelert – For a guy who comes into Kona with a very consistent record, Raelert was never in the race and by 80-kilometres into the bike he was done. He swam badly and never got his race-mojo going. It was an unhappy day for the likeable German and, like with Jacobs, he is probably allowed a miss.
- Product placement on Ironman Live – Watching the commentators, who on the whole did a good job, talk through things like Ironman-branded blenders on the coverage was excruciating.
- Clayton Fettell – Fettell came to Kona to gain experience and at 150-kilometres into the bike was popped and peddling home. He has all the talent in the world, it may just take a year or two more to find the right mix.
- Some disrespectful questions/comments – A lot of talk was aimed at Mirinda Carfrae’s marathon time post race. Yes, it was brilliant, and yes, we watched on course in awe, but when journalists get to the men’s presser and open up with questions to Van Lierde, who had no idea of his splits, and ask him to comment on Carfrae’s time directly, well, maybe it’s time to go to question and answer school and show some more respect. Two separate races out there.