The British First Endurance triathlete has a deep resume flowing over a broad time span including 3 Olympics, 4 ITU World Championship titles and numerous ITU World Cup wins to his credit. At the age of 39, he seems to have notched it up to another level at the IRONMAN distance.
Don’s early season started with dominating performances decisively winning 70.3 Campeche and 70.3 Liuzhou. When considering his standout season so far, Don was quick to credit others along with his steady persistent effort over the years stating “I guess I always say ‘Consistency is King’ and my wife Kelly has been amazing at putting up with my big training load and letting me get on with it. We are a real team and without her, I would be lost. This year I have also taken on Matt Bobtail as my bike coach as well as Julie Dibens, both who have done an amazing job coaching me and getting me ready just for this race.” Don also made a switch to his nutrition in 2017, adding First Endurance as his nutrition of choice. After experimenting with the product line in 2016, Don worked closely with the scientists at First Endurance to dial in a plan allowing him to train and race at the highest level.
On the overcast wet day, Don was 4 seconds shy of swim leader Luiz Francisco, within a group 9 athletes (including the likes of Andreas Raelert, Barrett Brandon & Paul Matthews). All were within 18 seconds of one another heading into transition, distancing themselves by well over 2 minutes from race contenders Brent McMahon, Matt Chrabot, Eneko Llanos and eventual 2nd place finisher Kyle Buckingham.
Don didn’t waste any time separating himself from the close group out of T1, putting an incredible four and a half minutes on them within the first 40km of the bike. His gap continued to grow through each time check. By 130km’s, Don opened it up to over 14 minutes on a shrinking pack down to 4, including the likes of Raelert and Matthews and the 2016 winner McMahon, now almost 17 minutes back. By the end of the bike leg, his advantage grew to a phenomenal 20 minutes on the next competitor.
As if he wasn’t already out of reach, Don put his head down on the marathon to pull out a 2:44:46 marathon split following his race commanding ride. Focused on giving 100% all day long, after breaking the tape to win the South American Championship race, Don looked back at the clock in disbelief at what he had accomplished, a new World Record in the IRONMAN branded race distance. Don said “I was just racing for the win and once on the run at about 10km to go, I was told “Go For the Record’. At first, I thought ‘what record?’, then it dawned on me. In the last 3km people were saying ‘you are close keep pushing’. I did not know if that meant I had 10 seconds or a few minutes so I had to dig very deep mentally the last 10km to keep my focus.”
Upon crossing the line to win IRONMAN Brasil Don said “I think my first emotion was relief as this was my ‘A’ race for the first half of the year and I had really prepared for it, so to take the win I was over the moon!”
Combining a 3rd best swim, race best ride and run to finish in 7:40:23 breaking Canadian Lionel Sanders’ record of 7:44:20 (clocked in November 2016 at IRONMAN Arizona) by three minutes and fifty-seven seconds Don exclaimed
“I am still on Cloud 9 !!!! I know IRONMAN Brazil is a fast course but to go 7:40:23 is a dream and to have a strong swim, bike and run I could not be happier!”
While punching his ticket to Kona along with setting the new record, Don fueled his race effort with “PreRace capsules 35minutes before race start, then on the bike I had 3 bottles of EFS PRO lemon water along with 2 1/2 EFS Liquid Shot flasks and on the run I had 2 more EFS Liquid Shot flasks and water.” His dominating race on the day positioned him 25 minutes in front of South African Kyle Buckingham and 26 minutes in front of 3rd place Brazilian Igor Amorelly.
IRONMAN Brazil – South American Championships
May 28, 2017
1 Tim Don (GBR) 7:40:23
2 Kyle Buckingham (ZAF) 8:05:43
3 Igor Amorelly (BRA) 8:06:58
4 Reinaldo Colucci (BRA) 8:10:04
5 Thiago Vinhal (BRA) 8:11:46