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2023 TRI247 Triathlon Awards: Male Breakthrough of the Year Nominees and Winner

We look at the nominees for the 2023 TRI247 Male Breakthrough of the Year Award and announce the winner.

Staff Reporter
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To celebrate an incredible year of triathlon racing, we decided to look back on the season and carefully select a handful of winners for our 2023 TRI247 Triathlon Awards

For our next award, we’re recognising the efforts of the best male racers across all distances, with our ‘Male Breakthrough of the Year’ Award, picked from a shortlist of phenomenal athletes by our expert panel. 

This year, the shortlist was made up of German stars Rico Bogen and Frederic Funk, Frenchman Mathis Margirier and American Jason West.

The Nominees

With so many great male triathletes making their case for this award in 2023, we were left with the difficult deliberation required to narrow it down to a short list of just four athletes. Eventually, we came up with the quartet of Bogen, Funk, Margirier and West, whose incredible achievements we’ll look at in depth.

Frederic Funk finish line Challenge Samarkand 2023 photo credit Challenge Family
[Photo credit: Challenge Family]

Starting us off, PTO World #14 Funk has built on a fabulous 2022 to reach new heights with an unbelievable 2023, thanks to a season that has seen the Dan Lorang coached athlete prove beyond reasonable doubt that he is one of the very best athletes over the middle distance.

Rising from PTO World #21 last year to his current spot, Funk dealt with mechanical misfortunes at the PTO Tour European Open in Ibiza at the start of the season, but after overcoming that bump in the road, didn’t look back as he went on to finish on five middle distance podiums.

In arguably the best race of his career, Funk was only outdone by another one of our nominees, fellow countryman Bogen, at the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship. In Lahti, the Germans swept the podium, with Funk finishing second after a gutsy performance.

Margirier was a close rival of Funk’s during the season, beating his German counterpart to “The Championship” title in Slovakia before finishing just off the podium at the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship having been in contention for much of the race.

For the Frenchman, having never won a middle distance race before 2023, this season couldn’t have gone much better, with that win in Slovakia coming off the back of consecutive podiums at IRONMAN 70.3 Lanzarote and Challenge Gran Canaria, catapulting him up the rankings in the process.

From there on, Margirier didn’t look back, as he went on to win Challenge Salou, pick up two solid fourth place finishes in Lahti and the PTO Tour US Open before finishing his season with a win on home soil at Challenge Vieux-Boucau, topping the Challenge Family World Bonus as a result.

Finally, West has been one of the outstanding performers of the year in 2023, finishing the season as the PTO World #3 thanks to podiums at the PTO Tour US Open, PTO Tour Asian Open and IRONMAN 70.3 Oceanside.

On top of that, West won Clash Miami early on in the season and rounded out his year with another victory at IRONMAN 70.3 Los Cabos, as he completed a meteoric rise from PTO World #23 this time last year to his current standing as World #3.

Each of West, Margirier and Funk were more than worthy of winning the award, having enjoyed an incredible amount of success in a thrilling season. However, for our panel, one man stood above the rest after a brilliant 12 months.

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Our Winner – Rico Bogen

If you would have asked at the beginning of the season which athlete would win the 2023 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship, I think even Rico Bogen would have chosen someone other than himself.

Rico Bogen wins the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championships
[Photo Credit – Nigel Roddis Getty Images for IRONMAN]

However, eight months later in Lahti, the young German was standing on top of the world, having held of his fellow countrymen Funk and Jan Stratmann to clinch the World Championship title at the first time of asking, thanks to just his second professional win.

Despite winning IRONMAN 70.3 Kraichgau in May, Bogen had still flow under many people’s radars and it took most of the run in Finland for most of the triathlon community, even the race commentators, to begin scrambling for as much information as possible on the PTO World #26.

Rounding out his year with a podium performance at Challenge Vieux Boucau, Bogen will be closely watched next season and thanks to his truly outstanding breakthrough performance this summer, wins our award for the 2023 TRI247 Male Breakthrough of the Year.

Tomos Land
Written by
Tomos Land
Tomos Land is a triathlon & running journalist whose expertise lies in the professional world of short course & long distance triathlon, though he also boasts an extensive knowledge of ultra-running.

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