The 2018 triathlon season was stacked with tons of can't-miss moments. Many new stars broke through with their first wins, as well as veterans of the sport stepping up in career-defining fashion. Both the men's and women's fields brought the heat, with several records not just broken but completely smashed.
From Tim Don's inspirational return to the Big Island to Vicky Holland securing her first ITU WTS championship title, we gathered 10 of our favorite triathlon moments (in no particular order) from 2018.
Did we leave something out? Feel free to leave your favorite 2018 triathlon moment in the comment section, below.
Daniela Ryf's Record-Setting Kona Performance
As if winning her fourth straight IRONMAN World Championship title wasn't enough, the way Ryf dominated the course was something to behold. Ryf smashed her former world record time of 8:46:46 by over 20 minutes with a blistering time 8:26:18. She also broke Karin Thuerig's 2001 bike course record by almost 20 minutes, with a time of 4:26:07. The women's podium was rounded out by Lucy Charles (8:36:34) and Anne Haug (8:41:58), respectively.
Patrick Lange Breaks the Eight-Hour Mark in Kona
The 40th anniversary of the IRONMAN World Championship didn't disappoint. Defending champion Patrick Lange returned to the Big Island, defending his title in a record-setting style. He became the first person to break the elusive eight-hour mark with a time of 7:52:39, besting his 2017 course record of 8:01:40. An emotional victory, Lange dropped to one knee and proposed to his girlfriend after crossing the finish line. Bart Aeronauts finished in second with an impressive time of 7:56:41, and David McNamee finished in third with a time of 8:01:09.
Lucy Charles Breaks the Kona Swim Record
Great Britain's Lucy Charles made quite the impression on the triathlon scene in 2018. Her swim at the IRONMAN World Championship in Kauila-Kona, Hawaii, was nothing short of inspiring. She smashed Jodi Jackson's record set in 1991 by almost thirty seconds with a time of 48:14. Not only did she break the record, but she exited the water three minutes ahead of her next closest competitor, Lauren Brandon (and ahead of a number of professional men too).
Tim Don's Inspiring Return to Kona
Just one year after his near-fatal crash on the Big Island, 40-year-old Tim Don returned to the 2018 IRONMAN World Championship, crossing the finish line with an emotional 36th place finish. His post-crash rehabilitation is one of legend, with Don opting for a painful neck immobilizer (affectionately called a "halo") to speed up the recovery process. Three months later—and against doctor's recommendations—Don had his eyes set on the Boston Marathon, then qualifying for Kona. Back to his full strength, he'll be an athlete to watch in 2019.
Thrilling Finish at Challenge Roth
Challenge Roth has had its fair share of dramatic finishes in its storied history. This year proved no exception with the women's race decided by less than 10 seconds. The race was off to a fast start, as Great Britain's Lucy Charles broke the swim course record and led the field by more than four minutes. She held on to her lead until the final six kilometers of the marathon where Germany's Daniela Sämmler reconnected and pulled away from Charles. Charles dropped to 40 seconds back before surging within 10 seconds of Sämmler for a close second place finish. Both women collapsed at the finish line, making it the fastest Iron-distance race by a German woman on record (8:43:42).