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15 Kona greats of all time: Peter Reid

Just who are the greatest Ironman World Championship triathletes ever? We have argued, debated and discussed the many contenders, and come up with our top 15 Kona greats of all time - do you agree with our choices?

9. Peter Reid

  • Ironman World Champion 1998, 2000 & 2003
  • 4 other Ironman World Championship podiums

Quebec’s Peter Reid victory at the 2000 Ironman World Championships, the second of his three Kona titles, confirmed his position as one of the most consistently brilliant athletes of his generation, with his 4th, 4th, 1st, 2nd, 1st, 2nd, 1st, 2nd, 3rd finishing run at Hawaii up there with the greatest ever seen on the Big Island.

Reid was born in Montreal, Quebec, in May 1969, and throughout his teenage years was heavily into skiing during the harsh winters and cycling during the summer. His first brush with triathlon came in 1989, when its demands forced him to resort to breaststroke just 100m into the swim of his debut sprint-distance race.

Nonetheless, the 20-year-old was soon hooked, even if his parents weren’t convinced. After graduating with a political science degree Reid gave himself a year to show clear signs of improvement in the sport. Giving early indications of his famous perseverance, he soon came good, winning Japan’s gruelling 1993 Astroman duathlon (8.5km run/180km bike/42km run) in a typhoon.

In 1994 he moved west to British Columbia, to train under coach Roch Frey. The results started to flow, with victory at Wildflower and fourth at his first venture in Hawaii – all in 1996, a year when Reid’s education was broadened by weeks spent training with German powerhouse Thomas Hellriegel.

Another fourth place at Kona followed in 1997 before Reid hooked up as a training partner with the rising American star Tim DeBoom in the summer of 1998 in boulder, while staying at Paula Newby-Fraser’s house.

Whatever advice she imparted seemed to work. Just months later in 1999 Reid won his first Ironman world champs victory in 8:24:20hrs after out-biking all the riders bar Hellriegel and outpacing all the runners except Lothar Leder. Lori Bowden finished second that day in Hawaii, and a year later the roles were reversed when Bowden, now Reid’s wife, took gold, and Reid was second behind Luc Van Lierde.

Reid would label his 2000 Kona victory over DeBoom the hardest race he ever did. In 2002 DeBoom broke free on the run to secure his second Kona title. Reid’s feat in finishing second shouldn’t be underestimated, however. He'd suffered a huge mental and physical burn-out earlier in the year and took a break from the sport on his doctor’s orders. He swapped his road bike for the motor variety and piled on the pounds. Slowly, he found his motivation and energy returning and set about targeting Kona armed with a beginner programme, written by Mark Allen, named ‘18 weeks To Your First Ironman’.

Even so, his preparations for 2003’s Hawaii showdown were far from ideal. His marriage to Bowden had unravelled throughout the year.

"There was no way she was going to win and I wasn’t," Reid was heard to say in Hawaii. The duo both produced the winning goods on race day (for the last time), and the organisers rearranged the awards ceremony so the two wouldn’t appear together on the podium.

After two more Kona podium places in 2004 and 2005, Reid announced his retirement from triathlon to pursue a career as a bush pilot in the northern wilderness of Canada.

220 said: "His triumphs over adversity in Hawaii will remain in Ironman folklore, though; few have grafted as hard as Peter the Great for victory in Kona."

Continue reading our guide to the 15 greatest Kona triathletes of all time  (9/15)


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