By Sharon Robb
KAILUA-KONA, HAWAII—October 15, 2017—Evelyn Herrmann Salama made it to the greatest finish line in the sport of triathlon.
And now she can say there is nothing in the world like it. A day later, she can probably still hear the cheers along the grueling course.
On Saturday, with her family and friends waiting for her at the finish line, the 44-year-old Pembroke Pines wife and mother of two completed the emotionally-charged race in 13 hours, 2 minutes and 51 seconds.
On a brutal day, Salama completed the 140.6-mile journey that is the ultimate test of body, mind and spirit.
She was 79th out of 93 in the women’s 40-44 age group; 439th out of 617 women; and 1,765th out of 2,221 overall finishers.
She completed the 2.4-mile swim in 1:07:44 for 27th in her age group; the 112-mile bike in 6:43:59, 85th in her age group and 4:46:20 in the 26.2-mile run, 72nd in her age group.
Salama qualified for her first Kona appearance at Cabo Ironman 2016 in Cabo San Lucas. After Cabo she ran the Cocoa Beach Marathon and qualified for the 2018 Boston Marathon. Kona was her fourth Ironman distance event.
Other South Florida Ironman finishers were:
Cobi Morales, Miami, 40-44, 10:36:32, 127th out of 252 in age group.
Carolina Ponce, Miami, 45-49, 11:20:26, 27th out of 88 in age group.
Jenny Alcorn, Miami, 55-59, 11:20:38, second out of 53 in age group.
Brian Smith, Jupiter, 55-59, 12:25:57, 73rd out of 134 in age group.
Mandi Nilsen, North Miami, 30-34, 12:28:20, 63rd out of 71 in age group.
Fidel Rotondaro, Miami, 75-79, 14:17:56, first out of six in age group.
Leanda Cave, Miami Beach, pro, DNF
Fan favorite Andy Potts, 41, of Colorado Springs was the first American finisher in 8:14:43. He was seventh among 41 male pros. Potts competed in the second Olympic triathlon at the 2004 Summer Olympics less than a year and a half after starting the sport.
German Patrick Lange, 31, came alive late on the run to win the men’s title in a course record in 8 hours, 1 minute and 40 seconds.
Lange, who was third last year, came off the bike more than nine minutes behind Canadian Lionel Sanders and trailed by more than six minutes midway through the run course. With 5K left, he kicked it into another gear to overtake Sanders.
“It’s everything I ever dreamed of,” Lange said. “Oh my God, I cannot believe it. I always, always, always since I was a child dreamed to have this crown.”
Switzerland’s Daniela Ryf won her third consecutive women’s title in 8:50:47. She took the lead late in the bike leg and was never challenged during the run to win by a nine-minute margin of victory.
“It was the hardest I’ve ever had to fight to win,” Ryf said.
Sharon Robb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org