The Triathlon community was stunned with news of a triathlon legend being hit by a truck only days prior to the biggest event in the sport, the Ironman World Championships in Kailua-Kona. Tim Don, a 4x World Champion, 3x Olympian, 2x podium finisher at Ironman 70.3 World Championships and most recently, the holder of the Ironman World Record (May 2017), was struck by a careless vehicle while out training on the infamous Queen K Highway three days before the race. Fans and media were alerted of the situation via Tim’s social media post from his Kona Community hospital bed, but the agonizing details of a critical neck injury, not to mention, the ever-growing financial burdens of the accident were kept to those closest to him.
Tim’s initial medical diagnosis was a broken C2 vertebra, potentially leaving Tim in a removable neck brace for approximately 5 weeks. Tim was flown out of Kona the next night and taken directly from the airport to a brain and spinal specialist in his home town of Boulder, Colorado. Unfortunately, Tim’s injury was more serious than originally thought and doctors gave Tim three choices: Remain in a soft brace, which presented further risk of injury; have surgery to repair the vertebra, which is the most common solution; or endure the least popular choice, The Halo.
Although extremely painful, The Halo offered Tim the best chance of making a full recovery whereby he would (hopefully) be able to maintain full range of motion in his neck. A high level of mobility is essential for a professional triathlete who needs to be able to fully turn his neck during the swim and hold a low, aero position on the bike.
The Halo option immobilized Tim and required a team of doctors, physios, specialized equipment, and a vast amount of support from his network to help get him through the excruciating three months of wearing the medieval looking contraption. “The medical bills and mental costs have really added up and I think many people in this situation would fold and call it a day as a highly competitive athlete, but The Don is determined to get back to the top of the sport, no matter the cost,” said Franko Vatterott, a member of Tim’s management team.
A few friends suggested starting a GoFundMe page, but Tim and his wife Kelly were not comfortable asking for that type of support. Several sponsors and individuals have stepped in to offer welcomed and appreciated assistance in certain ways but the financial strains following such a critical injury are still very real. The Don family is lucky enough to have an exceptionally strong community of triathletes and friends around them and someone close to Tim suggested making a limited edition cycling kit, whereby a portion of the profits from the sales help cover the ever-increasing medical expenses. The Don’s team approached his long-time performance apparel sponsor Endura, and without hesitation they agreed to design, produce and sell a ‘Don themed’ cycling jerseys and bib shorts.
It is recognized that a lot of people in the triathlon community would make donations without receiving anything in return, but Endura has produced a top-quality cycling kit for the kind contributions to support Tim and his family. The ‘TD design’ has subtle tributes of the popular professional athlete with the UK national colours, “The Don” printed on the jersey chest and right leg of the bib shorts, as well as a nod to his Ironman World Record time of 7:40:23, faintly printed on the back pocket of the jersey and lower leg band of the shorts. The full kit is printed on Endura’s high-end WT Race jersey and bib shorts, as worn by Tim in training and by pro tour cycling team Movistar in races.
With Endura donating their valuable time for design, production, fulfillment and proceeds, delivery time may be slightly longer than normal. Estimated production and delivery time may take up to 3 weeks, depending on the demand for these items.
Those wishing to support this great cause can order the kit here