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Kona Ironman the toughest for Sharp

They told him the Ironman in Kailua-Kona was the hardest one yet. That many people can’t be wrong.

Michael Sharp, one of two triathletes from South Lake Tahoe who qualified to compete in the Ironman Triathlon World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, said the original test of human endurance is indeed the hardest.

“It was a long day out there,” Sharp said shortly after returning from the Oct. 19 championship. “It was choppier than expected, windier than expected and hotter and more humid than expected. Everything was more difficult.”



Sharp finished the race in 11 hours, 52 minutes and 47 seconds, which is more than an hour and a half slower than his personal best.

“There was a real big cross current and you could feel the chops starting,” Sharp said. “The latter part of the swim was long, for me at least.”




Sharp finished the 2.4-mile ocean swim in 1:31:59. The age group winner, Pierre-Alain Burgdorfer, 40, from Switzerland, was out of the water in 1:01:52.

Five minutes and 49 seconds later, Sharp was through the transition and on to the 112-mike bike. During the second half riders battled a headwind, which Sharp said kept his speed low. He averaged 18.52 miles per hour and finished in 6:02.

Burgdorfer was twice as quick in the transition, and finished the bike in five hours flat.

Sharp crossed finished the marathon in 4:09:17 averaging 9:30 per mile.

Finishing with a time that would have put him third overall in the Lake Tahoe Marathon, Burgdorfer finished the 26.2 mile run in 3:08:18.

Sharp has “bonked” before, hit the maximum his body can accomplish before it starts heading into shock.

“It can’t happen at the world championship,” Sharp said.

The overall finisher, Tim DeBoom, finished with a total time of 8:29:56. His split times were 52 minutes in the swim, 4:45:21 on the 112-mile bike, and 2:50:22 in the marathon.

“There were some unbelievably fit people over there. It was really a humbling experience. How could they be so good? But they are,” Sharp said.


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