In his third full IRONMAN race ever, IRONMAN 70.3 and IRONMAN champ Tim Don (GBR) battled the harsh weather and fierce competition to capture 2nd place at the IRONMAN South American Championship this weekend, while Paul Matthews (AUS) stayed in the lead pack throughout the race in Brazil to take 4th place.
Don entered the 2016 IRONMAN South American Championship with only two other full IRONMAN races under his belt: the 2015 IRONMAN World Championship (15th in his Kona debut) and 2014 IRONMAN Mallorca (1st place). Earlier this spring, Don claimed his third consecutive victory at the IRONMAN 70.3 South American championship, also in Brazil, plus winning IRONMAN 70.3 Monterrey for the third time. Don’s mastery of the 70.3 course has come after years of success on the short-distance ITU and Olympic Games stage.
“Finishing 2nd I am more than happy with my own performance on a day. It was filled with lots of rain and no sun at all… it was a battle to say the least. Good day indeed,” a pleased Don stated about his performance.
“When Tim decided to jump to the full IRONMAN circuit, we wondered how his formidable speed and power from the 70.3 course would translate to the longer distance. We know that success is not guaranteed, especially when you’re talking about today’s IRONMAN pro field. But as he showed yesterday coming in second in Florianopolis, Tim should not be underestimated on any race distance. Olympic, 70.3, full IRONMAN, you name it, he can win it,” said the Human Interest Group Director Michael Cardoza.
“Congrats too to Paul. After a really challenging and frustrating 2015, it’s great to see Barny staying strong and in the mix throughout the race. His performance shows a solid foundation that will keep Barny a serious contender.”
Both Don and Matthews exited the water in a crowded lead pack with Matthews ultimately claiming the second fastest pro male swim at 47:46.
On the bike, Don steadily advanced through the top contenders to become the closest competitor to eventual winner Brent McMahon. Don left T-2 approximately 10 minutes behind McMahon in a pursuit that opened distance between Don and the third and fourth places. Don crossed the finish line second with a time of 8:04:15. His bike (4:22:01) and run (2:50:27) times were the second fastest among the pro men.
Matthews also maintained his spot among the lead pack on the bike and run to cross the finish line in fourth place.
“The past 18 months has been challenging to say the least. It’s really encouraging to put in a solid training block in Mallorca with Team Bravo and come down to Brazil and get a good result,” Matthews said on Sunday following the race.
This summer, Don will continue to develop his full IRONMAN-distance prowess plus compete in IRONMAN 70.3s at Vineman and possibly Racine as well. Matthews wanted to get through IRONMAN Brazil and will now strategize for his next competition.
IRONMAN South American Championship Brazil
Brent McMahon (CAN) 7:46:10
Tim Don (GBR) 8:04:15
Kevin Collington (USA) 8:04:58
Paul Matthews (AUS) 8:08:57
*photo credit: Romulo Cruz for Team Bravo