Kona 2009















As we prepare for this weekend's Foster Grant Ironman World Championship 70.3, we have one last look at last months Ford Ironman World Championship through the eyes of our wonder-columnist Lee Gruenfeld.

To read Lee's post-race recap, click















Swim workouts at "Dig Me" Beach

Don't know who they're talking about, but he's got a good shot at winning.

This is Ironman number 50-something for Ken Glah

Paco and his 1959 Roadster. (He carries photographers around on his Harley on race day.)

Somebody actually did the whole race on one of these a few years ago...twice...with the basket.

"Daddy's going to swim 2.4 in this stuff?"

The Kona Heads have pimped their ride since last year.

1994 champ Greg Welch


The Underpants Run, a great pre-race tension reliever. At least for the spectators.

Gives a whole new meaning to "Don't ask. Don't tell."

Carbo party. The fire dancers get more daring every year.

Mike "Voice of Ironman" Reilly and Competitor magazine editor Bob Babbitt interviewing Rudy Garcia-Tolson, who is trying to become the first double above-the-knee amputee to finish.

That's it for fun and games. The race is two days away.

Race morning, and transition bags are ready to go.

So is Diana Hassel.

Mary Ann and Bob Blais, parents of the too-soon-departed "Blazeman," ALS warrior Jon Blais

Michael Lovato making last minute adjustments

The plane containing the U.S. Navy Parachute Team, the "Leap Frogs," is lit from below by the early morning sun

Six-time world champion Mark Allen

Hard to believe, but Mike Reilly will still be wearing that smile 17 hours later at the finish line. Whatever he's drinking, I want some.

Heading for the water may be the only time you'll ever see Chrissie Wellington without a smile.

Waiting to start, all is calm.

Then it isn't.

Remember the old joke about the post turtle? I have no idea how this guy got up there or how he managed to stand there like that.

Andy Potts leading the field out of the water.

Rudy had his run legs waiting to carry him to T1, where he then had to change to his bike legs.

Rinsing off the salt water

Leanda Cave clicking into her pedals

Brendan Allen, 50, leads the charge up Palani

Me bride Cherie, on her way to breaking the 65-69 world record

Jim Fuller, 56, making the turn in Hawi

Gotthard Winkler, 65, powering along the Queen K above the port at Kawaihae

Ryann Fraser, youngest female in the race (20).

Bob Whitman, 56, heading out on the first mile of the run

This little guy seemed terribly impressed with it all.

Has to be a little disconcerting for age groupers to be heading out on the run while pros are on the last mile. Here is Andy Potts, with Faris Al-Sultan hard on his heels.

The Energy Lab. It's dark and lonely down there after sunset. (No run pictures after dark because I didn't want to blind the athletes with flash.)

Kona residents Bill and Sandi Graham cheering on the Queen K. (Bill is the current U.S. breath holding record holder: Last month he stayed underwater on a single lungful of air for 7 minutes, 51 seconds.)

At the finish, every athlete gets a world class cheer, right up until midnight.

A class act, Chrissie greets them all.

Ironman media dude Peter Henning and race director Diana Bertsch.

Chrissie, Bob Babbit and Mirinda Carfrae

Rudy didn't make the bike cutoff, but he'll be giving it another shot at Arizona in November. Here he is with the groundbreaking Scott Rigsby, the first double below-the-knee amputee to finish.

For some, a massage was preferable to the finish line party.

World champions Craig Alexander and Chrissie Wellington.



















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