The Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii, always provides a spectacular show. The richness of the turquoise water and noisy crowds in Kailua-Kona contrasted by the desolate, barren lava fields of the Queen-K.
2019 was a particularly exciting addition with defending champions struggling, new stars rising and legends being cemented. Germany’s Jan Frodeno rose to the top to take his third title, while countrywoman Anne Haug took her first victory on the Big Island in style.
Here are our favourite pictures and moments from the Ironman World Championships 2019.
If you want to find out about how it all started then check out Ironman Triathlon History Part 1: The First Year.
1Ironman World Championships 2019 race day dawns
The stillness of Kailua bay as dawn arrives at the start of this year’s Ironman World Championships.
2The race gets underway
The iconic pro swim start in the crystal-clear waters of Kailua Bay offers a spectacular sight below the waves as well as above.
3O’Donnell’s podium bid
The USA’s Timothy O’Donnell stayed in the front pack during the swim. Coming out the water in fifth and setting him up for a fantastic all-round performance.
4Amberger leads out the swim
As in the last few years, Australia’s Josh Amberger was first out the water, bringing with him a strong pack of podium contenders including Jan Frodeno, Alistair Brownlee, Timothy O’Donnell and Patrick Lange.
5Lucy Charles-Barclay First Into T1
After leading out the swim once again, Lucy Charles-Barclay powered through T1 with the USA’s Lauren Brandon in close pursuit.
6Brownlee’s first Kona
Double Olympic gold medalist Alistair Brownlee was a wildcard at Kona this year having qualified in Ireland where the swim was cancelled due to atrocious weather. The Brit swam up at the front and came off the bike in the top five despite a wheel change but struggled on the marathon to finish 21st.
7Lange calls it a day
Two-time defending champion Patrick Lange was ill before the race and pulled out during the bike leg after a strong swim that saw him leave the water with the leaders.
8Charles at the front
As expected, Lucy Charles-Barclay was alone at the front of the race from the first few swim strokes, coming off the bike with over five minutes in hand.
9Kienle rides strong
Germany’s Sebastian Kienle used his strong bike legs to minimise his swim deficit and move swiftly through the field while saving energy for a fast run.
10Ryf pushes through illness
As in the men’s race, the returning Kona winner wasn’t on top form. A pre-race stomach bug meant a hard effort for four-time defending champion Daniela Ryf but like a true champion, she toughed it out to the finish.
11Frodeno bosses the bike
Jan Frodeno rode cleverly, working with the other leaders to stay away from the ‘uber-bikers’ behind. Before surging away on the final section of the bike to reach transition in first place with time on all his rivals.
Australia’s Sarah Crowley was sixth out the water and posted the sixth fastest bike split of the day to reach T2 in sixth place!
Jan Frodeno looked imperious throughout the run, displaying a controlled form that never wavered or even looked laboured over the 26.2 miles.
14Kienle steps it up
Sebastian Kienle’s continued running improvements over the last few years would mean a third-place finish for the 2014 Ironman world champion.
15Charles-Barclay hangs tough
Lucy Charles-Barclay was out in front for a long time but was overtaken by Anne Haug in the energy lab. Next to come past Sarah Crowley putting the Brit into third. Showing real grit, Charles-Barclay fought back into second place and held it to the line for the third year in a row.
16Haug’s fast feet
Anne Haug’s sensational running saw the rising German Ironman start smash through the marathon in 2:51:07 – the eighth fastest run split overall – taking first along the way with apparent ease after a great bike performance.
17Crowley runs through
Sarah Crowley showed that combining a solid swim, bike and run gives real podium potential as she stayed strong to equal her third-place finish of 2017.
18Frodo takes his third title
Jan Frodeno crossed the line with his customary roar and grip of the finishing tape. Setting a new course record of 7:51:13 to put to bed any doubt he’s the world’s greatest male Ironman athlete.
19The finish line feeling
With hundreds of the world’s biggest triathlon fans, legends of the sport and today’s stars crossing the line, the buzzing vibe of the Kona finish on Ali’i Drive is unlike anything else in triathlon.
20The champ is back
Crowned champion, Jan Frodeno’s satisfaction with being on top again was clear after being side-lined with a back injury in 2017 then a sacrum fracture in 2018.
21The USA scores second
Timothy O’Donnell again proved himself a superlative all-rounder by swimming, biking and running near the front all day to claim second – his highest ever Kona finish.
22The men’s podium
Jan Frodeno, Timothy O’Donnell and Sebastian Kienle all raced with exceptional strength to take first, second and third this year.
23Haug makes history
As the first female German ever to win Kona, Anne Haug was ecstatic to take the World Championship title, crossing the line with a home-country flag – and her tri suit still stuffed with sponges!
24The women’s podium
Anne Haug, Lucy Charles-Barclay and Sarah Crowley proved the best in the heat of Kona this year.
25Sundown in Kona
The final minutes of daylight created a magical scene for age-groupers on the Queen K battling to get back to Ali’i Drive before darkness closed in on the Ironman World Championships 2019.