Finishing 15th in Ironman ‘bittersweet’ for Hoffman
After his best performance in the Ironman World Championships, Ben Hoffman is hungry for more.
The Grand Junction High School graduate placed 15th in his fourth Ironman World Championship Pro Division race Oct. 12 in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.
“It’s a step in the right direction for sure,” Hoffman said. “There was a lot of good and some bad. It shows me I can take steps forward.”
The 30-year-old, who now resides in Boulder, finished in 8 hours, 36 minutes, 25 seconds. He completed the 2.4-mile swim in 51:12, the 112-mile bike ride in 4:40:29 and the 26.2-mile marathon run in 3:00:28.
“It was a combination of things,” Hoffman said of his best Ironman World result. “The biggest thing was I took a year away and just watched it last year. I also won the last three Ironman races I was in. Those were important steps for me. I had a more balanced effort and good training leading into it.”
Hoffman was the second American to finish. Tim O’Donnell placed fifth.
Hoffman, though, was somewhat disappointed.
“I showed up (this year) with slightly higher goals,” he said. “I’m still digesting it. It was bittersweet. I was five minutes off my time goal. If I reached it, that would’ve put me 10th. I have to be 1 percent better.”
Hoffman started off with a good swim, trailing the leader by 21 seconds, but he fell off the pace on the bike, usually his strongest event.
“I had a phenomenal swim,” he said. “The beginning of the bike I made a tactical error and got behind. I think it had a yo-yo effect and took out my legs when I climbed up near the turnaround. I fell off the pace and decided to ride my own race.
“The run went well. I went out under control and netted quite a few spots, four, five or six.”
Hoffman finished higher than three-time world champion Craig Alexander and last year’s winner, Pete Jacobs, both of Australia.
Alexander finished 21st in 8:43:59. He set the course record with a time of 8:03:56 in 2011.
Jacobs finished 32nd in the pro division in 9:06:39.
“In 2011, I came in with a significant injury to my lower leg,” Hoffman said. “I came out committed to try, and it was clear early in the run I was not going to make it. That’s as big of a battle there is: to show up healthy.”
Hoffman said he has his core group of sponsors in place and had some conversations with other sponsors. His main sponsors include Zoot, Specialized, Volkswagen and Clif Bar.
“I’m still relatively young,” Hoffman said. “Potentially, I have 10 more years as long as my mental game stays sharp. Physically, I’m there.”
Alexander was 38 years old when he set the Ironman World Championship course record.