HAMILTON, Bermuda, CMC — Bermudian triathlete Tyler Butterfield produced a tremendous performance to finish seventh on Saturday in the Hawaii Ironman World Championships, considered one of the toughest races in the world, media here reported.
It was the same place his father Jim finished more than 30 years ago when the event was in its infancy.
Boulder, Colorado-based Butterfield, 30, was up against the world’s leading professionals and he came desperately close to earning a place on the podium as he was in fourth place and closing in on the leaders before tiring some two miles to the finish line.
The gruelling event – a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and a full marathon (26.2 miles) – attracted more than 2,100 entries, all of whom had to qualify.
Butterfield was timed in eight hours, 24 minutes and nine seconds – less than 12 minutes behind winner Frederik Van Lierde of Belgium (8:12:29).
Butterfield considers the swim his weakest discipline, but he climbed out of the water with the lead pack and continued to be one of the pacesetters during the bike ride.
Once on the run, Butterfield, who this year won Bermuda’s most popular race, the May 24 Derby half-marathon, remained in the top 10 before surging into fourth place, a position he held for most of the race.
Butterfield surprised himself when he emerged from the water in seventh place, clocking 51:24, just 22 seconds behind the leader.
He continued to improve, moving up to sixth with a 4:30:10 cycle, and was on course for a tremendous marathon before slowing down just after the 23-mile mark to clock 2:58:22 – 16th best.
Long-time leader Luke McKenzie of Australia finished second in 8:15:19 and third place went to Sebastian Kienle of Germany in 8:19:46.
Women’s winner Australian Mirinda Carfrae stunned spectators as she tore through the field with a 2:50:38 marathon, the third fastest overall.