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Countdown To Kona: 33 Seconds (1983)

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With the Ironman World Championship set to take place 26 days from today, we take a look at back at each race from the past three decades. Today, we look at how important a 33-second margin was in the 1983 race. All of the following photos and text are taken from the book, “30 Years of The Ironman Triathlon World Championship” by Bob Babbitt.

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When he went by Scott Tinley there was no doubt. I’m gone, don’t even think about coming after me. That was the soon-to-be trademarked Dave Scott pass that Tinley, Mark Allen and many others would become accustomed to on the Kona Coast.

The hard part about going hard early is that you tend to pay for it later. Dave Scott did. Parts of the Dave Scott Express were scattered all over the Queen K Highway during the latter parts of the marathon. Tinley learned a valuable lesson that day: Never, ever give up. The heat and the winds of the Kona Coast accumulate and, at some point, the body adapts or shuts down. Scott’s eyes were rolling in the back of his head and Tinley was eating up ground in huge chunks.

But it was too little, too late. Tinley could see Scott go limp at the finish line a mere 33 seconds up the road.

Thirty-three seconds. Think about it. A total of 140.6 miles had come down to a mere 33 ticks of the clock – the closest finish in Ironman history. If only Tinley had gone harder sooner.

If only Tinley had not conceded the race so early.

If only Tinley realized that the Ironman was a different animal, that anything or everything can happen out there in the lava fields. If only…

To see the complete Countdown To Kona series click here.