The 2016 Ironman season has seen many wins from all of our athletes, and all of them have qualified for the World Championships in Kona.
Ironman sorts out the wheat from the chaff, the men from the boys, the winners from the also-rans. It’s a gruelling personal time trial in the water and on the road, with conditions that can be soul-destroying and legendary roads that seem relentless. To those of us who swim, or ride, or run, we look at the Ironman athlete incredulously and wonder how in the world it’s possible to train – at the highest level – for one sport, never mind three…but we acknowledge you all as truly dedicated masters at your own incredibly tough game.
Heather Jackson, killing it in 2016 and who ran the race of her life last year to take 5th overall as a rookie is here;
Ben Hoffman, who came second in 2014 and has enjoyed a fantastic domestic season this year, is here;
Jesse Thomas, the Bend father and businessman who has killed Wildflower no less than 6 times and races his first IM WC, is here;
Matt Russell, currently ranked 14th in the world and just two weeks off his last IM, is here.
To Heather, Ben, Jesse and Matt, our elite woman and men who we’ve watched, cheered for and celebrated all year long; and and to all of the men and women who take on the Ironman World Championships today as fellow Knight riders; we love you, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts, and wish you all the luck you’ve earned in the months of hard training and racing that got you here.
You. Are. Our. Champions.