#GBKona 2019: Kimberley Morrison makes her Kona Pro debut

Eight years after reading Chrissie Wellington's book on a beach in Thailand, Kimberley Morrison will be lining up at the 2019 IRONMAN World Championship

Chief Correspondent
Last updated -

Kimberley Morrison’s ‘dream come true’ Pro start at the IRONMAN World Champs

The British new kid on the (Pro) Kona block…

Continuing our countdown to the 2019 IRONMAN World Championship on Saturday 12th October, we speak to Great Britain’s Kimberley Morrison ( who will be setting off from Dig Me Beach for the first time this year.

#GBKona 2019 / Zwift / IRONMAN World Championship / Hawaii 2019

We’ve got six British Female Pro athletes racing in Kona this year, and you are the only debutant in Hawaii. Just over a week away from the big day, how are you feeling about what lies ahead?

I feel so delighted to be joining the five other British girls out in Hawaii, I have had some lovely words of excitement and support from the British girls and they are a true inspiration to me. I am proud to be lining up alongside them next Saturday in Kona, Hawaii… Wow, did I actually just say “next Saturday”?!

You were just 28 seconds away from qualifying at IRONMAN Texas in April, and then at your second-chance event in Frankfurt you ended up, in your words, “heartbroken” after a puncture and subsequent DNF ended your race in Germany.  Immediately after that, did you think Hawaii was going to be off your schedule for 2019?

It was that moment in Texas where my love of Kona really took hold. Getting so, so close showed me that this could be a year for my ‘dream come true’ trip to race the IRONMAN World Championship in Hawaii… instead of sitting on a beach (end of season), making up “cocktail rules” with my husband, whilst following the race with admiration.

That was the beginning of July – was the decision to try again after that (IRONMAN Estonia), an easy one to make, or did that require lots of soul-searching… because let’s be honest, an IRONMAN is hard and not to be taken lightly, whether you are a Pro or not?

IRONMAN Tallinn was of course an opportunity to Q for Kona, but ultimately it was to overcome my mistake in Frankfurt… I simply failed to prepare perfectly. I wanted to put my “perfect” IRONMAN together so this was my sole focus going into Tallinn… the prize was most welcome, of course!

IRONMAN Tallinn 2019 - Corinne Abraham / Kristin Liepold / Kimberley Morrison

Looking back on your Instagram post now after Frankfurt, you said “I had my heart set on getting my finishers medal but my support team are there for a very good reason and I listened…”. With hindsight – and the extreme conditions in Frankfurt that day – would it be fair to say that was perhaps an even smarter decision than you may even have thought at the time?

I race every race to finish, absolutely my goal, that is why I stand on the start line… so to be “advised” to not run hurt, it hurt a lot..

The correct decision…? Yes. My focus then switched to my training partner, Sam (Proctor), who was having an inspiring race coming home just outside the Top 10.

A week after Frankfurt, you had a virtually on your doorstep race at Outlaw Half Holkham. I know that definitely wasn’t on the plan (!), but as a way to try and banish that hurt from a week earlier, on roads you know and with family and friends around, was that really the perfect way to quickly turnaround that hurt?

Outlaw Holkham Half was a race of pure happiness… I absolutely loved it and would not have changed anything… even though I was just eight seconds shy of the course record (there is always next year!)

Kimberley Morrison / Kim Morrison / Outlaw Half Holkham 2019

Tallinn was almost certainly going to be your last chance of qualifying, there were two slots and you spent almost all of the run in second place, only to be overtaken in the final kilometre by Kristin Liepold who would finish in front by just 15 seconds. Aside from the racing aspect of wanting to finish as high as possible, prize money etc… did you know at the time that for Kona at least, Kristin was already qualified? What was the feeling like of having secured that place?

Third place at the final turnaround (with circa 5km to go), was just over a minute back (Kristin Liepold two minutes back), so it really was a race for second and a race for a Kona slot. But as much as my husband Ben was giving me this information… I just kept flippin’ running… and kept the cadence up, just giving absolutely everything without falling flat on the floor. It is truly amazing how long you can keep pushing if you really believe…. And have others surrounding you that truly believe.

You are still relatively new to triathlon at all, and have only raced full-distance IRONMAN races over the past couple of years. When did Hawaii and IRONMAN World Championship even register on your radar and was it something that attracted you from the start?

Yes, from the start. The very beginning. It has always been the IRONMAN World Championships. I took Mum’s reading book off her sun bed on a family holiday in Phuket in 2011 and Mum said to me… “Do not read that Kimberley, you will want to do an Ironman…” Chrissie was a girl from Norfolk which is where my Mum’s interest in the book started. Oops, sorry Mum!

I am so so grateful for my Mum and Dad’s support and excitement. Having undergone complex heart surgery at a young age they have been a little nervous about the Ironman-distance. However, they were out in Texas earlier this year and at IRONMAN Tallinn. Their excitement when I got that Kona slot was just my most magical moment, thank you x

Being your debut in Hawaii, have you sought out advice from other athletes that have raced there before to try and fast-track your knowledge?

I shared IRONMAN Tallinn with Claire and Duncan Shea-Simonds who have such a love for Kona, Hawaii and so much experience so I have been fortunate to absorb all of their help and advice. I have also had some lovely messages of support from my competitors and I thank them so much. Our sport is a magical place and the people make it what it is. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

You’ve been in fine form on the TT circuit this year, including a 3:44:50 for 100-miles. Do you feel that ability to hold position, with good aerodynamics – Hawaii not being a technical course – will stand you in good stead next week?

I do believe this bike course will be my absolute favourite. I simply love riding my bike fast.

Finally, any thoughts on what would constitute ‘success’ for you on your first time at the IRONMAN World Champs?

Success for me is a trip full of enjoyment, fun and so much laughter. If I am still smiling at the finish line I have remembered to do just that for my debut at the IRONMAN World Championships in Kona, Hawaii…

Time to jump into the Heat tent. Mahalo!

IRONMAN 70.3 Finland - Kimberley Morrison wins

#GBKona 2019 / Zwift / IRONMAN World Championship / Hawaii 2019

John Levison
Written by
John Levison
TRI247's Chief Correspondent, John has been involved in triathlon for well over 30 years, 15 of those writing on these pages, whilst he can also be found commentating for events across the UK.


In episode 1 of our new SBRX Show we sit down with ultra runners and coaches Kim and Jayson Cavill to get their take on the Barkley Marathons and triathlon & trail running gear reviews, training tips and more
Discover more
Sumarpo vanguard vs Zone 3 Vanquish X triathlon wetsuits
ZONE3 Vanquish X wetsuit vs Sumarpo Vanguard wetsuit – how do these triathlon wetsuits match up?
Essential Beginner's Triathlon Gear & KIt
Triathlon gear for beginners: essential kit for getting started
open water swimming Sumarpo wetsuit
How to improve swimming endurance – PRO tips to help you swim further in open water
sumarpo triathlon swimming wetsuit
Wetsuit buying guide – How to choose the best wetsuit for triathlon, open water swimming, SwimRun and cold water
Aviles Duathlon
What is a duathlon? Beginner’s guide to distances, training plans and kit
latest News
Gustav Iden Kona athlete sign in 2022 photo credit Donald Miralle for IRONMAN
Gustav Iden shares heartfelt message after major milestone on the journey back to the top
Sam Long celebrates at the San Francisco T100.
Sam Long targeting two major T100 races after season break to resolve personal problems
Challenge Geraardsbergen 2023 - Photo Credit José Luis Hourcade
British triathlon star Joe Skipper looking to save season with big results Down Under
Braden Currie wins IRONMAN Cairns 2019
Long course triathlon legend looking to kickstart season on happy hunting grounds in Cairns
lionel sanders wins oceanside 2024 [Photo credit: Donald Miralle / IRONMAN]
Lionel Sanders set for triathlon return after being announced on start list for event he loves
triathlon on your terms
Never miss out with our triathlon alerts & digest. Get a dose of adventure & inspiration with Boundless.
Invalid email address
The SBRX Group

Proudly elevating endurance sports through content, products & services

Share to...