Sunday, November 20, 2011

Class of 2011 (so far)


Chrissie Wellington 8:18:13 49:49 4:40:39 2:44:35

Julia Wagner 8:56:23 51:28 4:54:27 3:07:25

Bek Keat 8:59:22 51:27 4:51:05 3:13:51


Mary Beth Ellis 8:43:34 48:07 4:48:10 3:01:29

Erika Csomor 8:51:10 52:06 4:53:59 2:59:53

Diana Riesler 8:53:34 58:20 4:43:50 3:05:41

Heleen bij de Vaate 8:56:11 58:54 4:52:16 2:59:40


Bek Keat 8:52:42 49:33 4:54:41 3:05:02


Chrissie Wellington 8:55:08 1:01:03 4:56:53 2:52:41

Mirinda Carfrae 8:57:57 57:17 5:04:16 2:52:09


Jessica Jacobs 8:55:10 1:02:03 4:53:42 2:53:26


Leanda Cave 8:49:00 52:08 4:51:06 2:58:51

Linsey Corbin 8:54:33 57:00 4:50:11 3:02:27

Two in Arizona

Two Sub Nine performances today in Arizona: Leanda Cave and Linsey Corbin.

Leanda Cave 8:49:00 52:08 4:51:06 2:58:51

Linsey Corbin 8:54:33 57:00 4:50:11 3:02:27

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Monday, October 31, 2011

Enter to win a free copy

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Sub Nine by Timothy John Moore

Sub Nine

by Timothy John Moore

Giveaway ends December 01, 2011.

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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Sub Nine the New Normal in Kona

For a third consecutive year, a Sub Nine performance has been needed by a woman to win the Ford Ironman World Championship title.

Chrissie Wellington crossed the finish line on Ali’i Drive in Kailua-Kona on Saturday in 8:55:08. It marked her fourth victory in as many attempts on the legendary Big Island race course. And it was the ninth time she has finished an Iron distance race in less than nine hours; the third time this season.

The British athlete, still recovering from a hard bike crash about two weeks ago, also finished close to the 8:54:02 record she set at the world championships in 2009. Wellington didn’t race in 2010, pulling out the morning of the race due to illness.

On Saturday, Wellington struggled through the swim, reflecting her injuries. She then caught and passed her main rival, Mirinda Carfrae, on the bike before running to the front of the pro women’s field.

Wellington remains the dominant athlete of the current generation. She deflects talk of finishing times. Yet it is mostly speed that divides the elite from the rest of the field in a sport that is determined by who crosses the finish line first. Wellington has five of the top 10 fastest Iron distance times, including the world record that she set in Roth, Germany in July: 8:18:13.

Wellington is the standard by which all her peer’s are measured. How fast could she have been if she hadn’t been injured? It’s a moot point now.

As for Carfrae, she had her second Sub Nine finish, and her second consecutive one in Hawaii. In the process, the fleet-footed Aussie reset the run split record she’d set a year ago with a 2:52:09 clocking. She crossed the finish in 8:57:57. In her victory a year ago, Carfrae finished in 8:58:36.

While the qualifying process for the 2012 Ford Ironman World Championships has already begun, the race this past weekend generally marks the end of the 2011 season as most professionals take a short break.

This season was highlighted by 10 Sub Nine performances, with Wellington recording three and Australia’s Bek Keat recording two. Wellington’s first Sub Nine performance of the year came in South Africa.

Keat, who is the second fastest Iron Woman on the planet, clocked 8:59 in Roth in July and then 8:52 in Copenhagen in August. She decided not to race in Kona this year.

Another repeat Sub Nine performance came from Hungary’s Erika Csomor, who also chose not to race in Kona this year.

New to the Sub Nine list this year are American Mary Beth Ellis, Germans Diana Riesler and Julia Wagner and Heleen bij de Vaate from the Netherlands. Both Ellis and Bij de Vaate competed in Kona but had sub-par days; Ellis finished in 9:34 and Bij de Vaate in 10:35.

There now are just 26 women who have accomplished this feat. The first woman to do so was Thea Sybesma of the Netherlands. She went Sub Nine in Roth in July 1991.

Monday, October 10, 2011

The stats has a list of stats starting with the fastest age-groupers and then the fastest pros - broken down by the three disciplines.

Here's a few comments on the stats from the pro women:

Three Americans were among the top five fastest swimmers: Amanda Stevens, Kelly Williamson and Mary Beth Ellis.

Europeans and Brits dominated on the bike: Karin Thuerig, Caroline Steffen, Chrissie Wellington, Leanda Cave and Sonja Tajsich.

And on the run: Mirinda Carfrae, Chrissie Wellington and Caitlin Snow broke the three-hour mark. Next was Kelly Williamson and Sonja Tajsich.


Read about the fastest women in the sport in Sub Nine: History's Fastest Ironwomen:

"An extraordinary and inspirational reckoning of women's athletic excellence, Sub Nine is an excellent contribution to collections focusing on women's accomplishments in sports." - Midwest Book Review

"It's an interesting, well-researched read for someone who'd like to learn more about the background of triathlon - and how far women have come in racing." - Triathlete magazine

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Wellington, then Carfrae

Chrissie Wellington toughed it out to win a fourth World Champion title.

Wellington swam 1:01:03, rode 4:56:53 and ran 2:52:41 for 8:55:08.

Mirinda Carfrae charged hard on the run but it wasn't enough.

Carfrae swam 57:17, rode 5:04:16 and ran 2:52:09 for 8:57:57.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Winning isn’t everything

If you’re a pro racing tomorrow, there is a lot of money on the table.

Additionally, there are a lot of points to be captured for the rankings in order to qualify for next year’s World Championships. In some cases that may be worth more for athletes who are neither in perfect form this year nor novices nor rookies when it comes to racing on the Big Island.

The added bonus for the winner is that they won’t need to rush around the world collecting points ahead of the July 29th first qualification deadline for Kona 2012. Even better the champion gets a five-year exemption from the ranking system; all he or she has to do is validate the entry by completing one Ironman during the season ahead.

On the women's side, both Chrissie Wellington and Mirinda Carfrae received that exemption this year. And so did Natascha Badmann; hers was a special exemption reflecting the devastating crash she suffered during the World Championships in 2007. Badmann, even though she's a six-time World Champion, will have to qualify within the points system for next year.

While some athletes flourish with a lot of racing, not every athlete copes the same with the physical and mental - as well as expense - related demands that are involved.

So how does the point system work in Kona?

Well Kona is a P-6000 points race; it awards more points than any other.

First place gets 6000 points, second gets 5400, third 4900, fourth 4450 and fifth 4000. It’s a sliding scale for the first 20 finishers and then there are small amounts of points for those who finish between 21-30, 31-40 and 40 plus.

Most of the other Ironman events on the schedule are either P-1000 or P-2000 events. Some of the P-1000 events are Wisconsin, Wales, Florida, Lake Place and Mont Tremblant. Some of the P-2000 events are Arizona, Cozumel, Western Australia, South Africa, Texas and Brazil.

In other words, finishing fifth in Kona is like winning four P-1000 races, in terms of points.

That makes it key to choose one's races wisely. While a P-1000 race may be somewhat less competitive because there are fewer points on offer, you probably will still need to race hard to win and that could make it harder to race at a pending P-2000 event.

And so, a Top 10 finish tomorrow can go a long way to determining which races one should put on one's schedule in the season ahead.

On the prize money front, there’s also a sliding scale - and it’s a bit more dramatic. The total price purse for Kona - for women and men - is $580,000.

The winner will take home $110,000, second place $55,000 and third $35,000. Fourth will receive $20,000 and fifth will get $15,000.

It slides still faster, leaving the athlete who crosses the line in 10th place with $6000 - and those 4000 points.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Speed is relative ...

Check out 'Speed is relative but it doesn't hurt to have it' on

It's a pre-Kona review of this season's fastest Ironwomen racing on Saturday.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Friday, September 16, 2011

Who is going to Kona?

The final rankings can be found here:

Keep in mind that both Chrissie Wellington, Mirinda Carfrae and Natascha Badmann have been granted exemptions to race because of past victories in Kona. And at least two competitors signaled they won't be racing: Erika Csomor and Diane Riesler.

Badmann, who fought through major injuries suffered in a crash during the race in Kona in 2007, earlier this year came second at Ironman Lanzarote. As a sign of her return to fitness, Badmann swam less than an hour for the 'third' time in her Ironman career. And she set the bike course record.

Badmann also was third at Antwerp 70.3 in July and was third at the 70.3 European Championships a month ago.

Who's not going to Kona?

There are a few recognizable names who won't be on the start line in Kona in a few weeks.

Among them: Erika Csomor, Bek Keat, Belinda Granger, Fernanda Keller and Diana Riesler.

As well as Meredith Kessler, Hillary Biscay, Desiree Ficker, Dede Griesbauer and Heather Gollnick.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Sunday, August 28, 2011

MBE makes Canada her third win

Mary Beth Ellis is proving that she's the real deal. She won her third Iron distance event this summer at Ironman Canada.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Keat adds another Sub Nine

Rebekah Keat has won Challenge Copenhagen for a second year in a row and she's done so with a 8:52:42.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

MBE takes second European win

Mary Beth Ellis has won in Europe for a second time in as many months, crossing the line first in Regensburg, Germany.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Three Sub Nines in Roth

Three more Sub Nine times were recorded at Roth today. Chrissie Wellington (8:18:13), Julia Wagner (8:56:23) and Bek Keat (8:59:22).

Roth - Wellington 8:18:13

Chrissie Wellington has reset her own world record time in Roth, Germany with a 8:18:13 clocking, exactly one minute faster than a year ago.

She ran more than four minutes faster than a year earlier, biked about four minutes slower and swam more than half a minute faster.

She swam 49:49.

She biked 4:40:39.

And she ran 2:44:35.

You can see her results at this link.

In 2010, Wellington went 8:19:13 with 50:28, 4:36:33 and 2:48:54.

*The times exclude transitions

Twenty years ago

It was 20 years ago that the first woman - Thea Sybesma - went Sub Nine. Not recognized much for her achievement in 1991 and it appears not recognized now.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Twenty one races to go

While there are a lot of familiar names who haven't yet qualified, there's a ton of racing ahead in the next seven weeks.

There are 21 races in total, including seven Ironmans: Switzerland, Lake Placid, UK, Regensburg, Louisville and Canada.

Among those outside of the top 30 at the moment: Kate Major, Belinda Granger, Mary Beth Ellis, Sonja Tajsich, Bek Keat, Sam McGlone, Bree Wee and Natascha Badmann. Badmann no longer is an automatic qualifier.

The automatic qualifier's this year are Mirinda Carfrae, Chrissie Wellington and Michellie Jones.

Qualifying for Kona

So how do you get to Kona as a pro? This year there's a new process in place and it's based on points collected in both Ironman and 70.3 races during the season.

A pro must race at least one Ironman. Points from five races will be totaled, of which a maximum of three races can be 70.3s.

The top top 25 female pros in the KPR (Kona Pro Rankings) as of July 31, 2011 will be qualified to race in Kona 2011.

There are spots remaining for five more women. The exact size of the field will depend in part on previous winners, who receive an exemption to enter for five years after their last victory.

The final qualifying race for this year will be Ironman Canada on August 28.

More details on the KPR system can be found here.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Csomor now has three Sub Nine's

Erika Csomor is showing no signs of slowing down with her superb 8:51 finish in Austria on Sunday. It is the third time that she has gone Sub Nine in the last four seasons.

Csomor's first Sub Nine performance came at Roth, Germany in 2008 and she dipped beneath the nine-hour mark at second time in Roth the next year.

The 37-year-old Hungarian is on fire this season.

She was second at Challenge Fuerteventura, a half iron distance event, in late April, very close second at the 70.3 event in Mallorca in mid May, second in the Austria 70.3 event one week later and was fifth in the 70.3 in Switzerland in early June.

In Austria yesterday, she swam 52:06, rode 4:53:59 and ran 2:59:53. Among the pro women, she had second fastest run; only two women had Sub Three marathons.

Mary Beth Ellis

Today's Ironman in Klagenfurt generated three new members of the Sub Nine club: Mary Beth Ellis, Diana Riesler and Heleen Bij De Vaate. And Erika Csomor showed that she remains super competitive.

Ellis's performance - stopping the clock at 8:43:34 - makes her the third fastest Iron Woman on the planet. Chrissie Wellington has the fastest time, 8:19:13 in Roth, Germany, a year ago and Rebekah Keat has the second fastest time with her 8:39:24 in Roth in 2009.

Ironman Austria also was Ellis's debut at the distance. From Delaware, this American now lives in Boulder, Colorado. While she ended her 2010 season on a low note, slowed by injuries and disappointing results, she's rebounded this year as a member of Team TBB.

In March Ellis won the 70.3 event in Singapore. She placed fourth in the 70.3 in Texas in early April and finished in second, just seven seconds behind Leanda Cave, at Wildflower on April 30.

The victory in Austria represents an early birthday gift to herself - she will turn 34 on July 12.

Ellis has been a pro since 2006. She's a US Olympic trials qualifier in three sports: triathlon, swimming and the marathon. She was second at the 70.3 World Championships in both 2008 and 2009. She won Escape from Alcatraz in 2009.

On her Team TBB profile, she wrote the following on how she prepares: "All the hard work is done in the years, months leading up to a race."

*Ellis is only the second US-born athlete to go Sub Nine. Sue Latshaw was the first when she went 8:59:31 in Roth in 1997.

Ironman Austria - Four Sub Nine's

Top-10 women:

1 Ellis Mary Beth USA 8:43:34

2 Csomor Erika HUN 8:51:10

3 Riesler Diana GER 8:53:34

4 Bij De Vaate Heleen NED 8:56:11

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Strong is Beautiful

The New York Times has written a story about a new advertising campaign for the Women's Tennis Association.

One of the reasons that I've been intrigued by pro women triathletes, which lead me to write Sub Nine: History's Fastest Ironwomen, is how wide a gap there sometime seems to be between athletes and race organizers.

Not all organizers are in the same box yet I still think pro athletes - both men and women - could be far better utilized in helping to promote individual races and the sport in general.

It will take the initiative of a group of athletes - and will require the leadership of some of the elite of the elite. And there will be some disagreement in term of style and approach at some point.

There needs to be a starting point and a simple common objective and organizers at all levels should be eager to buy into it.

This is how the WTA describes itself:

The WTA is the world's leading professional sport for women with over 2,200 players representing 96 nations competing for over $86 million in prize money at 53 events and four Grand Slams in 33 countries. More than 4.8 million people attended women's tennis events in 2008 with millions more watching events on television networks around the world.

Two thousand and two hundred players.

Of course, it had a more humble start. Billie Jean King and eight other 'renegades' had a vision for a better future for women's tennis when they decided to work together in 1970.

Among the work that the WTA does today is 'Player Development', which runs the gamut from a mentor program tapping the experience of veteran and retired players for rookies to media training to education for a player's support team.

The WTA also offers help when players transition out of tennis.

According to the WTA, the player development work has reduced the percentage of athletes who drop out of the sport at a young age to 1 per cent. The work also has extended the average career of an athlete.

The NYT story - Watch as she gracefully knocks the fuzz off the tennis ball - looks at the new 'Strong is Beautiful' ad campaign.

In the May 11 story, the WTA's chief says the objective is to convert peripheral fans into diehard ones by having the players talk about their backgrounds, aspirations and drive.

I'd like to think that the profiles in Sub Nine: History's Fastest Ironwomen help break down some barriers too. It will require a lot more than one book.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Kona pro rankings

Early season rankings can be found here: Kona 2011

The top 50 male and top 30 female pros at the end of each qualifying year will get starting spots.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Kindle Edition available

The Kindle edition of the book is now available.

Click on this link to take you to the Kindle store.

You can also purchase the paperback edition again now too.

Friday, April 15, 2011


Chrissie Wellington’s dominating win in South Africa last weekend marked the sixth consecutive time in which she’s finished an Iron-distance race in less than nine hours.

In just a few short years, Wellington has ushered in a new era in the sport. She’s made Sub Nine performances seem commonplace—yet they are far from that.

A Sub Nine performance puts a woman among the elite of the elite. Membership in this exclusive group numbers just 22; half of those have been earned in the last three seasons. The first woman to stop the clock with an ‘eight’ in front of it was Thea Sybesma of the Netherlands in 1991.

“I wanted to know more about these women, both those racing now and those who came earlier,” says Timothy Moore, author of Sub Nine: History’s Fastest Ironwomen. “I also wanted there to be a historical record of what they have achieved.”

It started with a blog in January 2008 and led to a story ‘Assault on the World Record’ in the June 2008 issue of Triathlete magazine. Weeks later, seven women went Sub Nine, with three of them breaking the 14-year-old record of Paula Newby-Fraser. And the idea for a book was born.

“I wanted to know more,” says Moore, who has worked as an editor at The Australian Financial Review for the last five years and previously worked for 12 years as a reporter and then editor at Bloomberg News in Canada and Australia. The book represents more than a year of focused research and writing.

“What I found in interviewing the women was that their success came because of day in and day out hard work,” Moore says.

On a summer day in July 1991, then medical student Thea Sybesma was the first woman to go Sub Nine, finishing the Ironman race in Roth, Germany in 8:55:29.

Sybesma received little recognition for her effort. “It’s like climbing a mountain,” says Sybesma, who left the sport in 1993 to pursue a career as an orthopedic surgeon. “Others tend to put extreme accomplishment quickly in a different frame of reference.” She says even she didn’t realize until years later how fast she had been.

In the two decades since, Newby-Fraser and Wellington have captured most of the Sub Nine headlines, and with good reason. Other members of the group though include Irma Heeren, Sue Latshaw, Lori Bowden, Kate Allen, Yvonne van Vlerken, Erika Csomor and Bek Keat.

Few of these women have achieved recognition beyond the sport and some of them have already slipped silently from triathlon’s radar screen.

For most of the women, the first time they went Sub Nine was a confirmation of who they were as an athlete. It was more important to some than others, and as fast as they went on their respective days, it wasn’t always fast enough.

“It was special and it was typical me. I just broke the 14-year-old record, only to finish second. One of my eyes was smiling, one was crying: we triathletes love to win,” Erika Csomor says of her 8:47:05 in Roth in 2008.

In their individual profiles, most of the women talk about how they define success; for some it’s all about winning, for others it’s about reaching their potential.

Heather Fuhr, Karen Smyers, Erin Baker—each an Ironman World Champion with careers filled with victories—are not profiled in this book as they never broke the elusive nine hour mark. Nor has six-time World Champion Natascha Badmann.

“You are neither a better person for having a Sub Nine result nor a lesser one for not having done so,” Moore says. Winning isn't always about being the fastest.

Still, sport is about records, setting them, breaking them and pursuing them. Where speed is an element, everyone wants to go faster.

What Sybesma did was equivalent to Roger Bannister breaking the four-minute barrier for the mile, Moore says, though she doesn't think so. "She opened the door. She made women believe they could go faster. And they have. Wellington is affirming that in almost every race," the author says.

Critics allege courses are short or that one athlete or another was pulled through the swim, drafted on the bike or paced on the run. They say that the only race that really counts is held on the Big Island in October.

“There’s value in being skeptical,” Moore says. “But winning an Iron-distance race, no matter its organizer or its location, is no easy task. Finishing in less than nine hours is a remarkable accomplishment.”

Wellington has seven Sub Nine performances on six different courses. She's clearly history's fastest Ironwoman and she's far from done.



By Timothy Moore with a foreword by Kevin Mackinnon

Published: April 2011

ISBN 978-0-9865154-6-0

132 pages, paperback

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Twenty-two ..

Twenty-two women have recorded Sub Nine finishes at Iron-distance events in the last 20 years.

This book profiles each of these superb athletes. Interviews were conducted with 17 of the women including Thea Sybesma, the first woman to achieve a Sub Nine finish, and Mirinda Carfrae, the newest member of this elite group.