The Man with the Halo

On May 28, 2017, Tim Don became the fastest Ironman triathlete of all time. The following October, he headed to the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii, as a favorite to top the podium. But he never started the race.

Just days before the event, Tim was hit by a truck while cycling. Scans revealed that he had broken his neck.

Almost immediately, Tim’s resolve to bounce back was clear. Whatever the final outcome, the story of Tim’s recovery was going to be one of bravery and determination in the face of adversity. To document Tim’s journey, On teamed up with Emmy-award-winning director Andrew Hinton. The result is the inspirational short documentary, The Man with the Halo.
When Tim crossed the finish line in Florianopolis that day, his overall time of 7:40:23 didn’t just seal victory against his race opponents. It set a new world record for the fastest time ever in an Ironman triathlon. Before Tim, the record for Ironman distance (2.4 mile (3.8 km) swim, 112 mile (180 km) bike, 26.2 mile (42.2 km) run) stood at 7:44:29, set by Lionel Sanders with a 53:45 swim, 4:04:38 bike and a 2:42:21 marathon.

Broken down across disciplines, Tim’s stellar performance set the new record split at 44:16 for the swim, a 4:06:56 on the bike and a marathon run of 2:44:46 to total the new record of 7:40:23.

After leaving Brazil as the world record holder, Tim’s sights turned to the 2017 Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii, in October. Clearly in top form with plenty of training time still to go, Tim was talked up by many as a favorite to win the most iconic race in Ironman and write himself even further into the sport’s history books.

Six months on, Tim arrived in Hawaii in the shape of his life and ready to race. But he never made it to the start line.

While cycling in Kona as part of his final preparations, Tim was hit by a truck. The collision was serious. Scans revealed Tim had broken his neck. It was the end of Tim’s hopes of competing at the World Championships, but thankfully not the end of Tim.

The epitome of a fighter, Tim’s thoughts quickly turned to recovery. Among several options for treating his injury, only one would offer Tim even a chance at competing with the best again: a halo.

Despite its angelic name, the halo resembles something from a torture chamber. A circular metal framework, the halo was fixed directly into Tim’s skull and supported on his shoulders. Two days after the crash, Tim was back home in Boulder, Colorado, with the halo holding his head in place for healing and a long and painful road ahead.

The following four months tested even an Ironman like Tim to his very limits, mentally and physically. When the halo was removed in at the start of 2018, it marked the end of the first chapter of Tim’s recovery and the start of his rehabilitation.

The steely determination that Tim showed since returning to consciousness after the crash now shifted to rebuilding himself as an Ironman. Less than half a year after he broke his neck, Tim was already in the gym with his sights on big goals. Remarkably, on April 16, almost exactly six months after the accident, Tim took on the 2018 Boston Marathon. Despite driving rain and temperatures close to freezing, Tim finished in 2 hours, 49 minutes and 42 seconds, just five minutes more than the marathon leg of his world-record-setting Ironman race in Florianopolis, Brazil in May 2017.

For Tim, the finish line in Boston is just the beginning of the long-distance recovery ahead. Sign up below to be notified when The Man with the Halo launches. And watch this space for more exclusive content as we follow Tim on the comeback trail.

All proceeds are being donated to Twenty20 Professional Cycling

TWENTY20 Professional Cycling is operated under Tam Cycling Inc. Section 501(c)(3) is the portion of the US Internal Revenue Code that allows for federal tax exemption of nonprofit organizations, specifically those that are considered public charities, private foundations or private operating foundations. It is regulated and administered by the US Department of Treasury through the Internal Revenue Service. One of the most distinct provisions unique to Section 501(c)(3) organizations as compared with other tax exempt entities is the tax deductibility of donations. 26 U.S.C. § 170, provides a deduction, for federal income tax purposes, for some donors who make charitable contributions to most types of 501(c)(3) organizations.

Mission Statement: The purpose of this corporation shall be to educate and foster national and international amateur and professional athletic competition, especially among women. The TAM CYCLING CLUB, in its commitment to empowering female athletes for a better tomorrow will work in partnership with the entire community to assure equity and provide services, opportunities and leadership necessary to establish and maintain safe, quality cycling programs. The coaches, trainers, and members of the club believe in the equal worth and dignity of all cyclists. As the community organization for female cyclist in the United States, the Tam Cycling Club is responsible for establishing a climate that:

Provides female athletes that have the desire to compete the coaching and camaraderie that will help them achieve both competitive and non-competitive cycling goals in a safe and enjoyable manner.
Develops in them an awareness of what it is to be an athlete that is both gracious, and respectful to their community.
Creates an environment in which they may discover new friendships and find lasting role models.
Guides athletes towards learning new skills and disciplines, and spreads the foundations of bike racing in the USA, especially among women.
Promotes the value of cycling to our community as a mode of transportation and as a life long sport.
Supports the equal treatment of women, in not only the cycling community, but in all women's sport.

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