After last year’s accident and the ensuing emotional rollercoaster, Tim Don, qualifies for 2018 Kona Ironman World Championship in the final roll-down.
His last chance to qualify was this past weekend at Ironman Copenhagen. Tim started off strongly in the first half, but began to struggle in the second half due to digestive issues, having to stop around the 26km mark and pull out of the marathon leg.
There was initial disappointment, believing he’d missed out on automatic KPR (Kona Pro Rankings) qualification. But this soon turned to elation with the realisation that one of the final 10 places had not been accepted. Tim, ranked as the first athlete to be offered the ‘roll-down’ spot, was quick to accept his place and can now begin his final preparations for Kona.
It was last October that Tim Don got hit by a truck while doing a final ride in Kona. Tim suffered a C2 vertebrae fracture at the top of his spine, being fitted in a metal halo brace which he had to endure for six weeks. “It was like facing the dentist’s drill, but 100 times worse,” Tim says. Thankfully, this accident did not call for surgery, but it still meant putting a halt to his training plans for the upcoming triathlon season due to the halo being screwed into his skull.
Only three weeks into his determined recovery, Tim made it his mission to be on the starting line of Kona to race. He patiently regained mobility through minor exercises at the gym and intensive rehab. “It was good to get back to training but it was also mentally hard as well as I wanted to do more but just couldn’t,” said the world triathlon champion.
Tim’s first comeback race was the Boston Marathon with a targeting finish time of 2:50. He finished in a fantastic 2:49, which is even more impressive given the bad weather conditions.
Following his success in the Boston Marathon, Tim competed in the 70.3 Costa Rica Triathlon finishing in a time of 3:49:59, taking first place and Ironman Hamburg.
Ironman Hamburg was initially planned as his only shot for Kona qualification. With a fourth place or higher, he would have secured an automatic qualification. A fierce battle saw Tim in contention for fourth place until the middle of the run leg, when he began to fade. Post-Hamburg, he decided to sign up to Copenhagen as one final opportunity to qualify for Kona.
Tim said, “The road to recovery is rarely linear, the last 10 months have been all about perseverance. To get the first roll down spot was not in my vision, but life is funny like that. See you all in Kona!”