Timothy Philip – ‘Tim’ Don is a triathlete from United Kingdom. A three-time Olympian, four-time ITU World Champion of triathlon and duathlon, and countless ITU World Cup and Ironman victor – few athletes can match all that Tim has achieved.
The Ironman triathlon is one of the most grueling competitions in the world. It involves a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride and a 26.2-mile run back-to-back. When Tim crossed the finish line in Florianopolis, Brazil that day (28/05/2017), his overall time totaled to 7:40:23 setting a new World Record for the fastest time ever in an Ironman triathlon.
Six months on, the World Record holder Tim arrived in Kona, Hawaii ready to race in Ironman World Championships. But he never made it to the start line. While cycling in Kona as part of his final preparations, Tim was hit by a truck. Scans revealed Tim had broken his neck. It was the end of Tim’s hopes of competing at the World Championships, but thankfully not the end of Tim.
The epitome of a fighter, Tim’s thoughts quickly turned to recovery. Among several options for treating his injury, only one would offer Tim even a chance at competing with the best again: A Halo. Despite its angelic name, the halo resembles something from a torture chamber. A circular metal framework, the halo was fixed directly into Tim’s skull and supported on his shoulders.
Two days after the crash, Tim was back home with the halo holding his head in place for healing and a long and painful road ahead. The following four months tested even an Ironman like Tim to his very limits, mentally and physically. When the halo was removed at the start of 2018, strenuous rehabilitation began.
Shortly the determined Tim was in the gym with his sights on big goals. Remarkably, on 16/04/2018, almost exactly six months after the accident, Tim took on the 2018 Boston Marathon. On 13/10/2018, Tim stood on the start line in Kona, ready to take the Ironman World Championships. The journey for the ‘Man with the Halo’ had come a full circle, with thanks only to Tim’s unstoppable determination in the face of unthinkable adversity; and no wonder, the triathlon world feels – ‘The Don is back’.