Tim O’Donnell looks for elusive win in Kona

The Kona veteran has finished five times in the top ten and hopes to better his 3rd place of 2015.

Timothy O’Donnell has finished 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, and 8th in the Ironman World Championships and would love nothing more than to taste victory in triathlon’s biggest race on Saturday.

Some of Tim’s biggest victories include the ITU Long Distance World Champion title in 2009,  Ironman Brazil (2013), Ironman Boulder (2017), and nine Ironman 70.3 wins.  The third place in Kona in 2015 has been his top result at the World Championships, and he came close again last year, ultimately finishing just off the podium in 4th.

The 39-year-old American pointed to 2015 as his best race in Kona, a gutsy effort, and felt that last year he executed a smart race.  “I think I really need a combination of these two this year if I really want to put that cherry on top,” he said.

Kona will be the third race for Tim this year after frustratingly dealing with injuries (watch the video below as Tim talks more about this).  It wasn’t until early June that Tim entered his first race in his hometown, the Ironman Boulder, and finished in 3rd place. It qualified him for Kona.

“It has been hard,”  he explained. “I like to have my race schedule set in stone as I feel like I train a lot better when I know exactly what I am doing. When I have those question marks, it stresses me out a little bit more, and I think takes away from my training and my recovery.

“So that was really hard thinking I was going to do Texas, thinking I was going to do Brazil and then landing on Boulder. I put together a performance good enough to qualify me, not the performance I wanted or think I could do, but it got me [to Kona], and that was my goal. I think I did it as best as I could.”

In late July Tim managed his second race, the Ironman 70.3 Santa Rosa, where he finished in 2nd place. It almost seems logical the next step should be a win in Kona, and if anything, Tim definitely has freshness on his side.


Obviously, I've had some setbacks but I'm riding better than I have ever done before. I think the swim's there and I am excited to see what I can do on the run, so I honestly think, this year more than ever, there's a chance for success. I have done everything I can and to be honest I am in a better place than I thought I would be right now, so it's all gravy. There's nothing left to lose; I am just going to get out there.


Watch a 2019 Kona pre-race interview with Tim O’Donnell below: