Tim Don has had a long and storied career in the sport - he is a four-time ITU World Champion, a three-time Olympian and a former IRONMAN world record holder. ‘The Don’ - as he is known - is truly a triathlon great.
Tim’s first ITU World Championship success came as a Junior in 1998 when he won the Lausanne Triathlon, he followed that up with wins at Alpharetta (World Duathlon, 2002), Gamagori (World Aquathon, 2005) and again in Lausanne 10 years on from that initial win.
‘The Don’ competed at the Sydney, Athens and Beijing Olympics during his illustrious shorter distance days, securing numerous titles between 1998 and 2012. He also managed to pick up $200,000 in just one race when he claimed the Hy-Vee ITU Elite Cup in 2010.
The move up to middle distance came in 2013 and 2014, and Tim finished an excellent third at the 2014 70.3 World Championship at Mont-Tremblant in Canada - a feat he later replicated at the 2017 race in Chattanooga, USA. Meanwhile his full-distance debut came at Mallorca in 2014, and it brought victory at the first time of asking.
A further success came in Brazil (2017) during the South American Championships, where he set a then world-record time of 7:40:23 with a phenomenal performance. But then, three days before the 2017 World Championship in Kona and in the form of his life, Tim was hit by a truck during training - breaking a vertebrae in his neck.
After the accident he spent almost four months at home in Boulder, Colorado - unable to shave, shower or dress himself. He chose to have his neck secured in a halo device in an attempt to return to action swiftly. And what a return it was.
‘The Don’ was back to win 70.3 Costa Rica before finishing the 2018 World Championship - exactly a year after his accident - to add an exclamation point to his incredible comeback. The story of his recovery was also captured on film by Emmy award-winning director Andrew Hinton in ‘Man With The Halo: Iron Again’.
Clearly after everything he has been through there is little that scares Tim, but he does admit to being unnverved by the thought of “aliens in underpants taking over the world”. His most embarrassing moment meanwhile was being cast as a clown in a school production.
The best advice he has been given is to “never give up” - a mantra he has most definitely lived by.