Top pro hit by car, out of race
KAILUA-KONA – There was a noticeable absence at the Ironman World Championship professional athlete press conference on Thursday afternoon.
Veteran pro and podium favorite Tim Don was unable to make it to the event, which brings together the race’s top contenders, after being hit by a car during a training bike ride on Wednesday morning on Queen Kaahumanu Highway.
Police said that the accident happened at 11:35 a.m. near the Queen K 76 station, with Don riding northbound on Queen Kaahumanu Highway. A pick-up truck was traveling southbound, negotiating a left turn onto Honokohau Street, when Don broadsided the vehicle. Police couldn’t say immediately if a citation was issued as a report wasn’t available Thursday afternoon.
The accident sent Don to the hospital and the diagnosis was a fractured vertebrae. It also meant he would be sidelined five to six weeks and miss the Kona world championship race.
Don announced that he would be missing the event via a light-hearted social media post.
“Just getting in the finishing touches for my Kona race on Saturday, going for a new aero look. I’ve heard that’s the way to beat Jan (Frodeno), Sebi (Kienle), and Patrick (Lange), the podium guys from last year,” Don said from his bed in the Kona Hospital’s emergency room wearing a neck brace. “The good news is I don’t have to have an operation and fly to Honolulu in a helicopter — that would have been pretty cool — but that’s really the good news. The bad news is I’m out for the best part of five to six weeks in a brace,
but you can count I’ll be back. I wish everyone the best of luck.”
Don, a 39-year-old triathlete who races out of London, made himself an athlete to watch in Kona after smashing the Ironman world record at May’s Ironman South American Championship in Brazil, clocking a time of 7 hours, 40 minutes and 23 seconds. It broke the previous record of 7:44:29.
Don finished in 15th during his Ironman World Championship debut in 2015, but did not finish last year’s race.
It’s not the first accident involving a notable professional triathlete. Austrailian female pro Mirinda Carfrae — a three time champion in Kona — was hit by a vehicle in 2015, three days before the race.
She started the event but eventually pulled out with leg and back soreness.