Kona, HI – Rudy Project athletes Heather Jackson and Andy Potts led the American contingent at the 2017 IRONMAN World Championship this past Saturday October 14th, finishing 4th and 7th respectively, while Australian athlete Sarah Crowley put in an amazing performance with a podium finish that landed her in third. The IRONMAN Asia-Pacific champion finished with a time of 9:01:38, 2 minutes behind 2nd place, Lucy Charles, and less than 11 minutes behind three-time world champion Daniela Ryf.
The big dance started out with a bang, as the cannon went off over the historic Kamakahonu Bay. The pro men took off, taking on huge swells and choppy conditions, while the pro women’s field was close behind. Rudy Project athlete Josh Amberger, in his Kona debut, cleared the water faster than any other male pros, boasting a +1:19 lead over other Kona veteran Pros. He was first out of T1, blazing out the chute and up the Kuakini climb, with Rudy Project’s new Boost Pro helmet gleaming in the early morning sun. Other Rudy Project athletes Andy Potts, Ruedi Wild, Pete Jacobs, Tim Reed, and Joe Gambles were close behind, with Andy Potts also sporting the new Boost Pro – specially developed in the wind tunnel with pro cyclist Vincenzo Nibali, who has won the Tour de France, Giro D’Italia (twice) and the Vuelta a España. The run was marked by German Patrick Lange overtaking Canadian Lionel Sanders in the last 3 miles, while Tim Reed, Ruedi Wild, and Andy Potts pursued the lead pack relentlessly onto Ali’i Drive. Andy Potts pulled off the best American marathon of the day, moving up ten spots over the 26.2 mile course to finish 7th overall, and at the top of the US men’s pro field, a victory which earned him the affectionate title of “The Ironman’s Ironman” from LAVA Magazine on Twitter.
In one of the fastest Kona swims ever, the lead women missed Jodie Jackson’s 1999 swim record by a mere 5 seconds – athletes Heather Jackson, Mel Hauschildt, Sarah Crowley, Sarah Piampiano, Kaisa Sali, Carrie Lester, and Jodie Robertson departed T1 swiftly, putting in huge efforts on the bike for 112 miles to make for a competitive run. With Daniela Ryf and Lucy Charles first and second off the bike, respectively, the run turned into a shifting battle with Rudy athletes Heather Jackson and Sarah Crowley jockeying for third, with Kaisa Sali and Carrie Lester in hard pursuit. Sarah Crowley overtook Heather Jackson in the final few miles, rounding out what has been a landmark season for her with a podium at Kona.
In addition to Rudy athlete Sarah Crowley’s 3rd place podium finish, Heather Jackson and Andy Potts were both the first Americans, female and male, to cross the finish line with Heather taking 4th with a time of 9:02:29 (ten minutes faster than her race last year that landed her on the podium) and Andy Potts with a time of 8:14:43, in what has been called one of the fastest races in recent memory. Other Rudy Project athletes rounded out the women’s top ten, with Kaisa Sali coming in 5th, and Carrie Lester coming in 7th.
Other stellar performances from Rudy Project athletes included Tim Reed, who came in 16th after a flat rear wheel stole time on the bike, and Ruedi Wild in 23rd, running confidently down Ali’i Drive with his trademark, irrepressible smile.
“This was one of the most memorable races I can remember,” said Paul Craig, President and Co-Founder of Rudy Project North America. “The speed on the course was epic. What a thrill to watch Sarah take the podium (our second in two years) and to see Andy and Heather lead the Americans! As the Official Eyewear and Helmet of USA Triathlon, Andy and Heather’s performances made us all proud to be Americans. That, coupled with our 7th win as the number one helmet at Kona in Lava Magazine’s Official Helmet Count, makes this race one for the ages. It is a poignant reminder that a nimble, family-owned company like Rudy Project that is committed to listening to athletes, technological breakthroughs, and innovation can really make a difference in the sport we all love. Go Rudy and thanks to all our athlete ambassadors!”
Rudy Project proudly announced in the early hours of Saturday morning that according to LAVA Magazine’s Kona bike count, Rudy Project was once again the #1 helmet at Kona, with a sizable win over competitors Giro and Specialized. For the seventh year running, Rudy Project was validated as the brand that the world’s top athletes know and trust to keep them cool, aerodynamic, protected, and looking their best on the Queen K during the most important race of their lives.
Rudy Project sunglasses were also strongly represented, with Heather Jackson rocking the Tralyx XL all the way down the Queen K and onto Ali’i Drive in a custom Multilaser Blue Lens and Yellow Fluo frame combo, as well as Andy Potts proudly wearing his Special Edition Kona Tralyx in orange and white on the run. Age groupers of all shapes and sizes were spotted on the way out of T1 wearing a mix of Rudy Project’s iconic frames, like the pink fluo Noyz, Rydon, Magster, and Tralyx. The major appeal of Rudy Project’s sunglasses lies not just in their ultralight and adjustable frames, and exclusiveImpactX-2 photochromic and Polar3FX Polarized lens technology, but also in the ability to put a prescription in virtually any Rudy Project eyewear. Sport prescription solutions from Rudy Project give athletes the perfect vision they demand on such a grueling race course facing unspeakable temperatures, winds and a blazing sun. A 14,000+ person USA Triathlon survey earlier this year found that Rudy Project was the number two most highly rated sunglass brand when members were surveyed on what kind of sunglasses they preferred to wear, making Rudy Project an easy choice for athletes competing at the top of the long distance triathlon field in Kona.
Rudy Project live-tweeted race updates and timely information on their Twitter profile (@rudyprojectna) and spectators are encouraged to follow along next year for all their race commentary. The Rudy Project Village in Kona will be open 9am to 5pm Sunday, Oct 15th, after race day, and athletes and spectators are invited to come by and find out why Rudy Project is the choice of top American pros, and the number one most worn helmet at Kona for 7 years running.