GJ’s Hoffman wins Ironman St. George
Ben Hoffman knew the Ironman St. George course well.
The Grand Junction 28-year-old trained there a lot while visiting family.
It’s more special now.
Hoffman won the Ironman St. George last weekend in St. George, Utah. The third annual event is coming to an end this year. It will be a Half Ironman next year.
“I go to St. George to train a lot,” Hoffman said. “I know the area real well. I have family there. It was real special.”
He won the Ironman St. George in 9 hours, 7 minutes, 4 seconds, finishing 18 minutes and 54 seconds ahead of Maik Twelsiek of Germany. Hoffman overcame strong wind conditions in the water and set the tone on the bike. He broke away at mile 102 and held on through the run for the victory.
“I had the fastest bike split,” Hoffman said. “I thought I was solid all day. It was crazy with the winds. I biked well. The run was one of my better ones. I felt solid all day.”
It is Hoffman’s second Ironman victory in his professional career. He won Ironman Lake Placid in 2010.
Hoffman is in contention to qualify for the Ironman World Championships in October in Hawaii for the fourth consecutive year.
Previously, Ironman triathletes qualified for the World Championship in Hawaii by winning an Ironman race earlier in the season. Now, qualifiers are determined on a point system.
Although Hoffman isn’t officially qualified, he’s in good position with the win last weekend.
“I’m optimistic I’ll qualify,” Hoffman said. “I used to do a couple Ironmans to get there. I would rather save up and do my second Ironman in Hawaii. It takes a toll on the body. I have some Half Ironmans planned this summer.”
Hoffman has qualified for the Ironman World Championships the past three years, but said he’s never had a good Ironman World Championship race.
“It’s been my nemesis,” Hoffman said. “I’ve accumulated experience and am getting stronger. I’ve seen guys hit their prime in the mid- to late 30s.”
He is a 2002 Grand Junction High School graduate, but he didn’t run, swim or bike much in high school. He mostly played basketball, soccer and golf.
Hoffman, who is living and training in Boulder, plans to be back in Grand Junction for his 10-year high school reunion this summer.
“I never thought I’d do this stuff,” he said, “but the rewards are great.”