Tyler Butterfield is a rare sporting talent, having raced at the height of competition in two separate disciplines. A two-time Olympian in triathlon (Athens 2004 and London 2012) and a three-time Commonwealth Games contender (2006 in cycling and 2002 & 2014 in triathlon), Tyler is now focused on long distance triathlon and the sport’s “holy grail”, the Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. Tyler has twice cracked the elusive top ten in Kona, first earning seventh in 2013, an especially poignant accomplishment as his father, Jim Butterfield, earned the same honor in 1981. Tyler’s 2014 season saw a victory over a world-class field at the highly competitive Abu Dhabi International Triathlon and a third place finish on the podium at Ironman France, a race known for having one of the most challenging courses on the iron-distance circuit.
Eager to improve on his prior Kona performance, Tyler’s 2015 season was entirely “Kona-committed” and included a number of notable performances at regional and world championship venues around the globe. Among his 2015 race highlights were a third place finish at the Ironman Brasilia 70.3 South American Championship, fifth at the Ironman 70.3 Mont-Tremblant North American Championship, eighth and the honor of first North American at the Ironman 70.3 World Championship and fifth overall and two iron-distance personal bests at Ironman Brazil – a 2:48 marathon run and an 8:05 overall time, despite a five minute penalty. Tyler began the 2015 season with a zero standing in the Kona Points Ranking (KPR), yet his standout racing garnered points at every turn and he ultimately earned his start in Kona and an opportunity to shine on triathlon’s world stage.
And shine he did, despite battling through severe stomach discomfort on the run, relying on his tried and true mental toughness to persevere. He started the marathon in ninth position, doubting his ability to hold onto a top ten finish. Yet Tyler pushed on, digging deep into his wealth of endurance experience, where both physical training and mental strength are requirements for success. He sucked up the pain and put one foot in front of the other, never letting up until he reached the line, ultimately clocking a 2:56 marathon split (8:23:09 overall) and scoring a career-best fifth place. This world championship result secured Tyler’s position among triathlon’s top long-course contenders around the globe.
Tyler’s athletic prowess is a brilliant blend of hard work and genetics–his father was an Olympic rower, a Commonwealth Games marathoner and an Ironman pioneer (setting the course run record in 1981), and his mother a marathoner–her fastest a year after Tyler was born at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Olympia, Washington (2:38:44 in 1984). Though Tyler is often seen as a strongman on the bike due to his stint on the European professional cycling circuit, he shows equal strength on the run, carrying on his fleet-footed parents’ legacy with frequent course record-setting splits, including a 1:07:52 half marathon at the 2010 Ironman 70.3 U.S. Pro Championship. Tyler proudly enjoys dual citizenship (Bermudian and American) and travels the world training and racing, accompanied by his long-time love Nikki and their three children, Savana, Walker and Grace.
Why do you RYD: “Triathlon has been a part of my life since the earliest I can remember and it continues to inspire me everyday to make the most out of everything in life.” - Tyler Butterfield
Hometown: Hamilton, Bermuda
Current City: Longmont, CO.
Favorite Race: Ironman Kona Hawaii, The May 24th Bermuda half marathon
Favorite Food: Coffee Cappuccino, Pizza, creme brulee.
Favorite Destination: Tahiti (Honeymoon), Bermuda, Australia, Colorado, Girona (everywhere I’ve lived).
Favorite film or concert: Gladiator & Top Gun