*Photo courtesy of FinisherPix
*Photo courtesy of FinisherPix

Tyler Butterfield refused to let his slide down the field over the final two miles deflect from his momentous seventh-place finish at the World Ironman Championship.

The Bermudian Olympian produced an epic performance in Kona, Hawai’i to fulfil his ambition of a top-10 finish.

An excellent swim was followed by a masterful bike section before Butterfield, whose dad Jim competed in the event in 1981, dug deep during the marathon. At one stage he was in fourth but his efforts in the saddle came back to haunt him as he made for the finish line.

“I was in a lot of pain,” Butterfield told Over The Top Radio. “Fourth with 10k to go.

“It’s hard when you’’re hurting but you’re happy to see that 10k mark — you know it’s a bearable 40 minutes of pain left.

“It would have been nice to hold on and run a bit better in the last 10k.

“I lost all that time and slipped all the way down to seven. 

“But to be honest, it’s a big difference to get in the top five so I wasn’t too upset to go from sixth to seventh but to go from fifth to sixth in a matter of 12-15 seconds — that was the bit that hurt the most.

“But I came here to get a top 10 and if anyone said ‘you’ll see Tyler up in fourth’, they would not have expected that.

“I was confident I would be in the mix if I had a good day but to be as high as fourth, I can’t complain, especially when after three miles of the run I didn’t know if I would finish.”

Butterfield, 30, has been overhelmed by the response from Bermuda and says he is proud to have put the island on the world map.

He said: “I have had a lot of response from Bermuda.

“They’re pretty excited  to see someone from a small country of 70,000 mixing it up with some bigger names — you’ve got Belgium in first and then Australia and Germany.

“A lot of my friends I grew up with and went to school with were all watching the live streaming and were saying ‘I went to school with this guy — how did he get all the way up there?’

“I think Bermuda’s pretty excited with how I did, along with all my sponsors.

“It hasn’t totally sunk in but being fourth at one point has kept me motivated for next year.”

As for the top-10 — Butterfield said it’s a reward for all his hard work in training.

“I knew it was realistic if I had a good or great day. I guess 10th was the line you want to hit if you have a good day. If you have a great day you might punch above your weight.” n