Sebastian Kienle looks back at Kona 2016: “I faked it on Ali’i drive”

Sebastian Kienle looks back at Kona 2016: "I faked it on Ali’i drive". (Photo: Instagram Sebastian Kienle)

While we count down the weeks until the next Ironman World Championship on Hawaii, Sebastian Kienle takes us on a trip down memory lane, sharing insights in his previous races on the “Big Island”. This time: 2016. “A pretty good year for me”, Kienle states. “Just like in 2014 I won the European Champs in Frankfurt.”

“My achilles problems were under control and ahead of the Ironman 70.3 World champs I spent some good time with Josh Amberger in ‘Brissy'”, Kienle continues his throwback. “Jan (Frodeno, ed.) was not racing the Ironman 70.3 Worlds in Mooloolaba that year, and I was pretty confident going into the race. Maybe I was too confident during the run. Tim Reed won the race with a strong last 800 meters. Two days after the race, I did an easy run with my wife along the river before I flew to Kona. Halfway through the run, my heel started to hurt. I never had to stop during a run because of Achilles problems, but this was bad.”

And traveling didn’t make things any better for Kienle. “The flight did not help”, he adds. “Luckily, my physiotherapist at that time, Martin, was ready to work when I arrived on the big island. The training was difficult, I wasn’t in the best mood. We were on the phone with the doctors at home. We were considering all options, but we were running out of time.”

“It was a little bit like the 2014 preparation”, Kienle explains, referring to the previous year when he struggled with some injuries too. “I tried to put pressure on Jan at the end of the bike, but I wasn’t able to drop him. I faked it on Ali’i drive, but Jan asked a question I had no answer for. But at least I was able to save second place, what ended up to be a day of total German domination.”

While it was Frodeno who won the race and Kienle who took second, Patrick Lange was the third German on the podium, bringing home the bronze medal.