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Just nine months after a devastating race week bike crash at the Ironman World Championship, Great Britain’s Tim Don completed his first triathlon—and he did it in style. The former Ironman world record holder earned the victory at Sunday’s Ironman 70.3 Costa Rica, crossing the finish line at 3:49:59 just ahead of second-place finisher Ryan Fisher of Australia.
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It’s been a whirlwind comeback for Don. The impact of the collision back in October left Don with “The Halo”—a brace that kept his head and neck completely still, even during movement—until the beginning of January. Although the most painful option, he opted for The Halo as it offered him the best chance at recovering with the full mobility needed to return to his career as a professional triathlete. At 40 years old, he recognized he didn’t have the luxury of taking a “dark year” to come back to full strength.
Don focused on the Boston Marathon in the initial stages of his comeback, which he shared in a documentary. He had a successful race, crossing the line in an impressive 2:49:42.
The win at 70.3 Costa Rica is impressive and puts Don on the right track, but he’ll need to finish an Ironman to qualify for Kona. With his victory in Costa Rica and his third-place finish at the 2017 Ironman 70.3 World Championships (which happened before his crash), a solid finish at the 140.6-mile race should be enough to get him on the Ironman World Championship start line. He has until Aug. 19, 2018 to complete the Ironman. He has yet to announce which event he’s targeting.