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The Ironmen and Ironwomen of 2017

The 2017 Ironman World Championships in Kona. Even earning an invite to compete on the island is a gruelling and hard-fought ordeal. But for 13 On athletes, 2017 may be the year to top the most coveted Ironman podium in the world…


Before the starter pistol sounds this Saturday, October 14th, to signify the beginning of the 41st Ironman Championship, 13 On athletes have already become etched in the history books by qualifying for the incredible event. Amongst those from On racing are a former Ironman World Champion, the fastest Ironman world record holder, a comeback story looking for this to be the year it all clicks, and every athlete a champion of the sport in their own right. We managed to gather from each of these competitors the best piece of running advice they ever received (in bold below), the shoes they will be wearing on race day, as well as other interesting facts and insights to inspire you before the weekend begins.



Frederik van Lierde – Ironman World Champion 2013

‘Cruise’ said to me by (On co-founder) Olivier Bernhard last year in Hawaii. The first half of the marathon is all about feeling comfortable at a good pace. The word ‘cruise’ is a very good summary of that feeling and I’ll remember that one forever."


Fred won the French Ironman earlier this year, despite blood pouring down his head after a race injury (read more about it here). Look out for him wearing the latest Polar V800 watch in Kona (item he swears by) and token sunglasses and hat combo for the run.

Fred’s Kona shoe
The Cloudflow (here in Malibu & Neon)
See the details

Kyle Buckingham – South African Triathlon Natural

Pace yourself very well at the beginning of the run - then stay controlled.


Having qualified for Kona an impressive 7 times, Kyle will be one to watch on race day. His go to meal before the event: a block of chocolate or pecan-nut muffin with a coffee – the insider info as to one of his favorites.

Kyle’s Kona shoe
The Cloudflow (here in Black & Asphalt)
See the details


Matt Hanson – US Champion Athlete

When it comes to the marathon portion of the Ironman, run the first 20 miles with your head and the last 6 miles with your heart. Your legs will hurt during the last section of the race, but they are quite a distance from your heart!


Bursting on to the scene in 2015 by winning Ironman Texas as somewhat of an “outsider” Matt has since been one of the most exciting competitors since. See here his insights as to the little things that can matter most as a professional athlete.  

Matt’s Kona shoe
The Cloudrush
See the details


Michaela Herlbauer – Austrian All-Rounder 

Be patient and build into it… this advice was from my father. He told me it before every single race (and still does), and it has helped me so many times get through strongly - especially during the marathon.


With several sub-9 hour Ironman times under her belt, look out for a speedy performance from Michi on the day, cheered on by her husband (and fellow On athlete) Daniel Herlbauer.

Michi’s Kona shoe
The Cloudflow (here in Blue & Haze)
See the details

Michelle Vesterby – Smiling Triathlon Star 

It sounds simple but it was to relax and believe in my running. I always had been told that “I couldn’t run” – and never learned to run, but being told to relax and believe changed all that!


Known for her incredible smile, Michelle has had a great lead in to Kona this year and consistently has proved herself a strong competitor on the Island. She shared with us one of the secrets to her success: enjoying a Corona the day before a big race.  

Michelle’s Kona shoe
The Cloudflow (here in Spice & Flash)
See the details


Rachel Joyce – Returning Legend

Don’t lose sight of what got you into the sport in the first place. I think it’s important to keep the fun in sport even when your hobby becomes your profession.


Coming back this year after becoming a mother, Rachel has already had an amazing 2017 return. Tipped to be one of the strongest racers on the day, a Kona podium would top off an incredible story for her return.

Rachel’s Kona shoe
The Cloudsurfer (here in glow & Glacier)
See the details


Ruedi Wild – Swiss Triathlon Superstar

Stay in the flow and think positive. Enjoy the moment to switch off your mind and feel your body doing its most natural thing: run!


The Swiss star’s year leading up to Kona has gone from strength to strength. See here his behind the scenes insights and photo-breakdown of Ironman Zurich, where he claimed silver in front of his home-town crowd.

Ruedi’s Kona shoe
The Cloudflow (here in Orange & Glacier)
See the details

Thiago Vinhal – Brazil’s Ironman

To keep the wrists pointed inside – advice from my idol, Crowie.


Kona marks a life-long goal reached for the Brazilian triathlete in 2017. Before the race this weekend, Thiago says he will just be thinking positive thoughts heading in to his dream event of the World Championships for the first time.

Thiago’s Kona shoe
The Cloudrush
See the details


Tim Don – the world record Ironman

When you are hurting push some more.


After breaking the world record in Ironman (with a time of 7:40:23 see the story here) Tim attributes much of his success to better understanding his race and training data, always wearing his Polar H10 heart monitor under his kit. With 2017 already a fairy tale for Tim after claiming a podium spot at the 70.3 Ironman Championships, this season will go down as one of the strongest in Ironman history.

UPDATE: days out from the Championship Tim was hit by a car while training at Kona, forcing him from the event – though still smiling through it all; the attitude of a true legend. See his post here from the hospital announcing what happened. 

Tim’s Kona shoe
The Cloudflow (here in Malibu & Neon)
See the details


Tyler Butterfield – Bermuda’s Kona Chance

Put one foot in front of the other as fast as you can, then repeat as fast as you can for as long as you can! Also - enjoy it!


After a top 10 finish last month at the Ironman 70.3 World Championships, Tyler now competes in the Ironman World Championships back to back, showing what an incredible and versatile athlete he already is. One of the pieces of advice he often tells others looking for Ironman glory: always double check and make sure your equipment is good to go before you race.

Tyler’s Kona shoe
The Cloudflash (or Cloudflow)
See the details

On athletes Bart Aernouts, Dimity Lee Duke and Gurutze Frades are also competing – we wish them and all competitors pro or amateur luck for the World Championships.