January 2015 First Wave
While triathletes in the Northern Hemisphere settle into the off-season, athletes Down Under are racing some incredibly scenic events, such as Challenge Wanaka, to be held on Feb. 20, 2016, in a tiny resort town on New Zealand’s South Island. The challenging iron-distance course takes racers into the glacier-fed waters of Lake Wanaka and through the surrounding hilly countryside, against the backdrop of the Southern Alps. Photograph by Phil Walter/Getty Images.
February 2015 First Wave
With half a million dollars up for grabs at the inaugural Challenge Bahrain, the pro men and women put everything on the line in what was, for most, the final race of the 2014 season. In the end, the $100,000 winning prizes would go to Germany’s Michael Raelert, elated to return to racing after a long injury-laden hiatus, and Helle Frederiksen of Denmark. Photo: Stephen Pond/Getty Images
March 2015 First Wave
Argentina's Mario de Elias tackles the three-loop run course of Chile’s Ironman 70.3 Pucón with the stunning Villarrica volcano in the background. Australian Richie Cunningham and Chilean Barbara Riveros won the January race. (De Elias placed third.) Photograph by Wagner Araujo.
April 2015 First Wave
Israel's largest triathlon, Israman, drew 1,630 athletes (a 40 percent increase from 2014) from 26 nations competing in half-iron and iron-distance races in January. Athletes swim in the Red Sea, then take off from the resort town of Eilat into the surrounding desert mountains for a tough point-to-point ride along the fenced Egyptian border. Racers climb about 6,200 feet in the half, and nearly 10,500 feet in the full. Photograph by Larry Rosa.
May 2015 First Wave
New Zealand's Terenzo Bozzone celebrated a $65,000 day and his victory at the inaugural half-iron Challenge Dubai. Photograph by Stephen Pond/Getty Images.
June 2015 First Wave
American Heather Jackson greets fans in the finish chute on her way to regaining the Ironman 70.3 California crown. The three-time Wildflower champion won in Oceanside in 2013 then took second to Canadian Heather Wurtele last year. Jackson edged out Wurtele with a 1:22 half-marathon and was elated at the finish line—she spent much of 2014 dealing with a stress fracture. In the men’s race, German Jan Frodeno successfully defended his 70.3 California title over five-time Oceanside champ Andy Potts. Photograph by John David Becker.
July 2015 First Wave
Former British ITU star Tim Don earned a hard- fought victory in a deep pro field at the Ironman 70.3 North American Pro Championship in St. George, Utah. While Don was in the lead pack on the bike, 2013 St. George champion Brent McMahon of Canada pushed the pace and was first into T2. Don only earned the lead in the final two miles of the half-marathon (he clocked a 1:14 run split). McMahon finished second while a hard-charging Andreas Raelert ran a race-best 1:12:46 to finish third. Photograph by Nils Nilsen/IRONMAN.
August 2015 First Wave
German pro Faris Al-Sultan rides through The Woodlands, Texas, during the Ironman North American Championship. He dropped out in T2 and announced the day after the race that it was his last Ironman. The 2005 Ironman world champion, known for racing in Speedo-style bottoms, placed in the top 10 at the Ironman World Championship nine times during his 18-year career and was a fan favorite. But a lengthening list of injuries and moderate race results helped make the decision for him. “Yesterday I realized, ‘OK, I’ve had so many bad races, and I can’t stand having one more bad race,’” Al-Sultan told Bob Babbitt in a post- race interview. “I’m happy with what I’ve accomplished.” Photograph by Nils Nilsen/IRONMAN.
September 2015 First Wave
In her first win at the distance, American Heather Jackson battled tough competition and even tougher weather conditions (over 100-degree heat) to earn the Ironman Coeur d’Alene victory in 9:23:27—17 minutes ahead of her next competitor. The elated Jackson tweeted afterward, “Did that just happen??...Will never forget today.” She will put her hot temp experience to use at the start of her first pro Ironman World Championship in October. Photograph by Nils Nilsen/IRONMAN.
October 2015 First Wave
About one year in advance of the 2016 Olympic Games, Rio de Janeiro hosted ITU athletes at the Olympic test event. The race served as an Olympic qualification for the countries participating (and was not part of the World Triathlon Series). Americans Gwen Jorgensen and Sarah True punched their tickets to the summer Olympics with top-eight finishes (first and fourth, respectively), which will make it the second consecutive Olympic appearance for both women. Fellow American Katie Zaferes, who finished sixth, didn’t qualify since two American women finished before her, so she’ll have to secure her spot at a yet-to-be-announced event in early 2016. Spain’s Javier Gomez won the men’s race. Because no American men finished in the top eight, no spots were claimed for the U.S. men’s team. Photograph by Delly Carr/ITU.
November 2015 First Wave
The dominant Daniela Ryf was the first woman to ever defend her title at the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Zell Am See-Kaprun, Austria. Ryf didn’t just win—she decimated the rest of the field by more than 11 minutes to claim the crown. Photograph by Michael Rauschendorfer/Endurapix.
December 2015 First Wave
At 82 years old, Japanese athlete Hiromu Inada narrowly missed becoming the oldest man to ever complete the Ironman World Championship. In the final 100 meters, Inada fell twice and missed the cutoff by just six seconds, finishing in a time of 16:50:06. The cutoff time has traditionally been 17 hours for an Ironman, but changes to the start times in Kona—to spread out professional and age-group athletes—caused the finish cutoff time to also be altered. Photograph by Nils Nilsen/IRONMAN.
December 2015 First Wave
American Gwen Jorgensen continued her unprecedented winning streak in the ITU World Triathlon Series by earning her 15th (and 12th consecutive) WTS victory at the Grand Final in Chicago. The win gave Jorgensen her second ITU world champion title, and she is the first athlete to achieve a perfect WTS final score. Known for her blistering run splits (including a 32:43 10K to win in Chicago), Jorgensen has already qualified for the 2016 Olympic Games and will be a clear favorite to take home the gold. New Zealand’s Andrea Hewitt was silver in the overall ITU series and American Sarah True took bronze. Spain’s Javier Gomez became the first athlete to become a five-time ITU world champion with his runner-up finish in Chicago. Countryman Mario Mola was the series runner-up, and France’s Vincent Luis took third. Photograph by Delly Carr/ITU.
The “First Wave” pages of Triathlete magazine are reserved for the sport’s top photographs. Look back on the 13 images from the magazine’s 2015 issues with this photo gallery.
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