Hawaii Ironman – “A dream come true” for Bart Aernouts, 2nd at Kona
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    Hawaii Ironman – “A dream come true” for Bart Aernouts, 2nd at Kona

    Bart Aernouts became the 5th Belgian to win a place on the podium at Ironman Hawaii on Saturday. It was one of the best moments of the triathlete’s career, as he came 2nd at the 40th Ironman Hawaii. Ironman Hawaii is the most legendary triathlon race on the planet. “It’s a dream come true for me”, the 34-year-old from Antwerp said just after he arrived at Ali’i Drive in Kona. 

    Although he was only 46th when he exited the water after the swimming race (6:28 behind the leader), the Belgian triathlete made an impressive and speedy comeback during the bike race and got up to 2nd during the marathon. He came behind the eventual winner, German athlete Patrick Lange. 

    “This is the 7th time I’ve raced here at Hawaii. I now know it’s never really “over” here! I stuck to my plan, I know what I can and can’t do. When on the bike, I was careful in the beginning. I know that the final third of the race is the most important and that’s when I gave it my all. I think that’s what got me my medal. While we were running, I quickly worked out that Patrick (Lange) was faster and it would be better not to push myself. I just wanted to keep my rhythm going”, he explained. Bart Aernouts became the fastest Belgian to do Ironman Hawaii on Saturday. 

    Finishing in 7:56:41, Aernouts got the second fastest time ever (Lange got a time of 7:52:39). Before Aernouts, only Luc Van Lierde (winner in 1996 and 1999 and 2nd in 1998), Rutger Beke (2nd in 2003), Marino Vanhoenacker (3rd in 2010) and Frederik Van Lierde (2nd in 2012 and winner in 2013) have managed to get on the podium of the world’s biggest annual triathlon. 

    Jason Bennett
    The Brussels Times