Thousands of athletes participated in the Ironman World Championship Saturday, but only a handful of the participants could claim the 140.6-mile route as a place they call home.
Keish Doi, now a nine-time Ironman finisher, propelled himself well ahead of the local pack with a stellar bike time of 4 hours, 58 minutes and 29 seconds. With the quick pace, Doi gave himself a good cushion and crossed the finish line as the top local competitor.
“The conditions were very good on the swim and bike, but the run was tough,” Doi said. “I have the advantage of doing this course year round. I was satisfied with my results but there is always room for improvement.”
Doi improved his time from 10:51:11 seconds in 2012 to 9:56:54 Saturday.
On the bike, Michael DeCarli followed Doi with a time of 5:13:35 and finished as the third overall Big Island finisher with a time of 10:48:19.
“On the last stretch of the run I was dealing with really bad blisters,” DeCarli said. “I pushed through it for the final eight miles though and was it was well worth it.”
DeCarli was competing in his first Ironman after living on the Big Island for 12 years and being a fan of the event for even longer.
“The race was everything I had imagined,” DeCarli said. “It was my first marathon event as well. The great Big Island support really kept me going and as I was reaching the final stretch.”
The top female competitors were Jeni Winegarner and Kristin Drost. Coming in with a time of 10:33:10, Winegarner recorded the second best time among Big Island athletes.
Drost finished with a time of 11:27:00 — good for fourth among local competitors. Less than a minute later, Drost was fortunate enough to see her Waverider Triathlon Club pupil Keoni Smith cross the finish line.
The young duo of Smith and Dan Gampon impressed all during the 2.4-mile swim portion of the event. Gampon finished the swim in 1:04:26, while Smith emerged from the water just seconds under an hour, with a time of 59:16. Smith had the best time among the local competitors and was a few minutes off the pace of many top 10 finishers.
Smith finished with an overall time of 11:28:01, while Gampon came in shortly after at 11:48:49.
The 2013 Kealakehe graduates are lifetime honorary members of the Waverider Triathlon Club and started participating in the sport less than a year ago.
Other local finishers at press time Saturday includes: Jon Jokiel, 12:23:19; Rick Rubio 12:39:36; Net Payne 13:01:17; Brian Collins, 13:01:36; Matthew Mather, 13:07:40; Rachel Gillis, 13:18:00; Chitwin San Tun 13:23:32; and Laurie Beers, 13:27:14.
Athletes remaining on the course will be included in the full results Monday.