10 Stunning Photographs From Ironman Kona
Calm Before the Storm
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This shot perfectly captures the anticipation that 2,000 athletes feel just before the cannon goes off to start the Ironman World Championships. Segesta gets a kick out of the guy checking his watch. "I am fascinated with the obsession of watches," he says with a laugh.
Triathlon's Signature Moment
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Perhaps one of the most iconic moments in sports—the cannon fires and 2,000 triathletes start their swim in Kailua-Kona Bay. "There are three places on the course that give me goosebumps. The start is one of them," Segesta says. "There is nothing like it."
The Journey Begins
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While the mass of 2,000 swimmers is a sight to behold, this photo reminds you that each dot in the mass is an individual starting a day-long journey. Segesta was standing on the pier when he captures this swimmer, using a Canon EF300mm 2.8L USM.
Battered, Not Beaten
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Chrissie Wellington got in a nasty bike crash two weeks before the 2011 race, resulting in a torn pectoral muscle and extensive road rash. Many wondered if she'd be able to participate. "That was the talk of the day," Segesta recalls. After struggling through the swim, Wellington made up a significant amount of time on the bike and run to beat Mirinda Carfrae for her fourth title. It marked the end of Wellington's brief but legendary Ironman career.
Focus of a Champion
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Peter Reid, seen here on the bike near Waikoloa, was the 1998, 2000 and 2003 champion. "Kind of like Michael Jordan in basketball, when Peter Reid was in the race, it added something to the event," Segesta said. "I loved watching him race."
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The Natural Energy Lab is the last turnaround of the run course, and is largely closed to spectators and media. Segesta was able to get this shot of age-group athletes plugging away at the 26.2-mile run in isolation. "It's got a tranquility about it because it's a controlled zone in the race," Segesta said. It's also an area of renewed optimism, because once you hit the turnaround, you're heading back toward the famous finish.
Alone In Front
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Natascha Badmann was a six-time Ironman champion, and in this 2004 photo, she's all alone in the Energy Lab with her fifth title in sight. "Photographically, I love this shot," Segesta said. "Sometimes the Big Island Vog filters the light perfectly, and this is one of those moments."
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Normann Stadler, the 2004 and 2006 champion, revolutionized Ironman strategy by being so dominant on the bike that the race was all but over before the run even started. In 2006 he gained 10 minutes on the chase pack and set a bike course record. During one of his two victories, Segesta was photographing Stadler from a motorcycle alongside him as he rode. "He looked over at me and said, 'Where is everybody?'" Segesta recalls. Turns out, they never caught him.
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The 2008 championships featured four racers finishing one after another. Craig Alexander, pictured here being helped up as his daughter looks on, won in a time of 8:17:45. Eneko Llanos Burguera was next in 8:20:50, followed by Rutger Beke (8:21:23) and Ronnie Schildknecht (8:21:46). Here, all four are seen in the race's aftermath, in a crowded finish area.
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Many of the age-groupers are literally racing from sunrise to sunset, a long and grueling day but also one filled with amazing scenery. Here, Segesta captures a runner, alone with the sun setting in the background. "It's quiet out there that time of day," Segesta says. "You hear footsteps and breathing, and that's about it. It's really cool."