Monday, October 9, 2017

Kona Profiles: Thomas Risse

The Ironman World Championships ("Kona") is quickly approaching, taking place Oct. 14th. As you know, it's incredibly competitive to qualify and a major accomplishment to do so. Like last year, we'll be catching up with our local Cinderellas... getting to know them better as a tri community and cheering them on as they get ready for the ball!

Here's some Q&A Thomas provided for SLTC, who recently threw him and Rory Duckworth an awesome Kona send off party. Best of luck!

  • Name: Thomas Risse
  • Age Group: M4549 
  • Qualified: via lottery under Hawaii State Resident rule - 20 slots to Hawaii residents (Thomas just moved back to the islands after previously living on Oahu for 8 years)
  • Qualifying Place & Time: had to complete a half iron this year and Thomas did two:- won his AG at Toughman Utah in 5:06 and also won AG at Brineman in 4:48

How did you celebrate when you found out you qualified?

Got in with a bunch of people I know from being in the tri scene in Hawaii - we all celebrated together those who were lucky enough to get entry.

What is your athletic background and how/when did you get into triathlons?

I was a team sport guy until I got “too old for bumping sports”. Then I started running marathons, and was fortunate to get to run Boston this year. Met a Marine in Hawaii who suggested I try a triathlon in 2012 and was hooked!

What is your favorite triathlon discipline and why?

Probably the bike, because the swim is the least fun for me and the run is always hard because it comes last.

What have you been doing since qualifying to prepare for Kona?

Run both Boston and Deseret marathons, done a number of ocean swims races before leaving Hawaii and have really enjoyed the triathlon race scene in Utah, completing Rock Cliff, Jordanelle, Daybreak, Brineman, Toughman, Echo and did Escape from Alcatraz this June.

What are you excited or nervous for about Kona?

Mostly excited, but some nerves. I want to feel good and have a good race, though the time doesn’t matter…okay, who am I kidding…I’d like to have a strong day feeling good and not go over 12 hours. I’ve done Honu 70.3 three times…so I feel I know a bit what the heat and lava fields will be like!

How has being a SLTC member played a roll in your Kona Journey?

It’s been great. I’ve made some friends already and a few of our team members made me pay on a ride the day after Toughman, taking me over big mountain and back. Had to go deep in the red zone! The SLTC community is awesome.

What's your best advice for individuals making their way into triathlons?

Start with a sprint and take it easy…getting the feel for mass swim starts and transitions isn’t natural at first. It’s a great balanced sport and my favorite part is going to events…so splurge and let yourself enter a few events. They are the best part!

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