A look at the performances, moments and headlines that stood out in 2016.

Saddest Goodbye: Wildflower Triathlons
Best Record-Breaking Performance: Jan at Challenge Roth
If you’ve won just about every major event in triathlon, you have to start looking for other goals to stay motivated. That is what Jan Frodeno did when he set his sights on lowering the iron-distance world record at Challenge Roth in his home country of Germany in July. In near perfect conditions, his 45:22 swim, 4:09:22 bike and 2:40:35 run lowered the record to 7:35:39, nearly six minutes faster than the previous record.
Breakthrough Male: Henri Schoeman
Short-Course Male of the Year: Alistair Brownlee
Brownlee is the defending two-time Olympic gold medalist. Photo: Delly Carr/Triathlon.org
Best Battle: Nicola Spirig and Gwen Jorgensen in Rio
Short-Course Female of the Year: Gwen Jorgensen
Jorgensen is the first American to win an Olympic gold medal in triathlon. Photo: Delly Carr/Triathlon.org
The Friendship Goals Award: Non Stanford and Vicky Holland
Best Battle (Runner-Up): Tim Reed and Sebastian Kienle at the Ironman 70.3 World Championship
After turning in his signature strong bike ride, two-time 70.3 world champion Sebastian Kienle (GER) took control on the run in pursuit of another title. Despite looking strong, Reed, Appleton and Maurice Clavel (FRA) soon joined him. Reed tried to break away, but Kienle didn’t let him go without a fight. The duo battled out front with each of them trying to make breaks at certain points, but nothing stuck and the two continued to run shoulder to shoulder throughout the entire half-marathon. It was Reed who found an extra gear and broke away in the final minutes to post a 1:11:03 half-marathon and earn his first world title in 3:44:14. Kienle had to settle for the runner-up spot for the second year in a row, finishing only two seconds behind Reed.

“Someone like Sebi is someone I’ve looked up to for many years,” Reed told Ironman.com. “Even to be running alongside him was a buzz in itself.”

Photo: Chris Hyde/Getty Images
Breakthrough Female: Holly Lawrence
With former world champions Daniela Ryf (SUI) and Melissa Hauschildt (AUS) both on the start line, not many people had Holly Lawrence as their pick to win the Ironman 70.3 World Championship, including us. But the British athlete stormed to the lead early in the bike and never looked back. After posting the fastest bike split of the day, the former short course racer still had plenty in the tank to hold the charge from the other women, winning by almost two minutes. Her win wasn’t completely out of nowhere, she had some strong results before her big win including a second at the 70.3 North American Championships in St. George, Utah. Her big win in September has put her among the sport’s best and she won’t be flying under the radar anymore.
Coolest Milestone: Triathlon in the Paralympics
Best Sprint to the Finish: XTERRA USA Championships
Most Versatile Athlete: Flora Duffy
Brother of the Year Award: Alistair Brownlee
Legend Award: Natascha Badmann
Most Inspirational Story: Turia Pitt
Australian Turia Pitt truly embodies the Ironman slogan that “Anything is Possible.” Against the odds, she returned to competing in endurance events after suffering burns to 65% of her body when she was trapped by a grassfire while competing in an ultramarathon in Western Australia in 2011. After 200 operations, Pitt persevered and completed both Ironman Australia in May and the Ironman World Championship (pictured) in October. “There have been big barriers to overcome,” wrote about the training process on Ironman.com. “I only have three fingers as a result of the fire and so I have a custom-built bike. Because of the burns, my skin has difficulty regulating my body temperature. So yes, there have been huge challenges, but everyone on an Ironman journey must overcome barriers. I’m no different.”
Long Distance Female of the Year: Daniela Ryf
Ryf at the 2016 Ironman World Championship. Photo: Oliver Baker
Best Clutch Performance: Patrick Lange’s Marathon in Kona
Many clutch performances are due to an athlete catching a bad break early on, only to overcome it through sheer force of will. That’s the case forPatrick Lange’s performance in Kona. An early penalty on the bike forced the German to lose contact with the main group. Lange came off the bike in 23rd position then lit up the run course. His run time 2:39:45 broke the run course record, held by legend Mark Allen, which had stood for 27 years. He also passed 20 competitors to take third place and make it an all-German podium in Kona.
Long Distance Male of the Year: Jan Frodeno
Badass Award: Susan Haag
Best PR Performance: Lionel Sanders at Ironman Arizona
Craziest Course Conditions: XTERRA World Championships
Worst 15 Minutes of Fame: Julie Miller
Best Single-Sport Performance: Gwen Jorgensen at the NYC Marathon
Jorgensen at the 2016 NYC Marathon. Photo: Photorun.net
Team of the Year: Arizona State University Sun Devils
Best Pro Selfie: Heather Jackson
Heather Jackson’s epic selfie from the 2016 race. Photo:Twitter.com/hjacksonracing
Biggest Gear Breakthrough: Doing More with Less
The Persistence Award: Cameron Brown

A look at the performances, moments and headlines that stood out in 2016.

Erin Beresini, Liz Hichens, AJ Johnson and Bethany Mavis contributed to this article.