The month of December is a time in the year when we gather with friends and family and celebrate.

Over the past month, we have highlighted the inspiring comebacks of Matt Russell, Terenzo Bozzone and Tim Don, as well as the top performances from the world of triathlon.

Related: The best of 2018: Canadian Performances

As we move into 2019, here are the top nine news-making stories of 2018:

Video: Ironman Texas Drafting Crash 

With no race marshals in sight to enforce the rules, massive packs formed on the bike course. With so many riding so close together, a single crossing of the wheels can lead into a massive pile up. This was the case (0:50) on a wide flat section of the bike course, where a group of five went down.

Did Andreas Drietz and Patrick Lange violate rule 2.02? 

Patrick Lange’s performance was nothing short of amazing. His sub-eight hour finishing time of 7:52:39 was a feat that had never been accomplished before, and likely won’t happen again for some time. Besides the athleticism displayed on Oct. 13, 2018, this year, Kona was blessed with near perfect conditions. That isn’t to underestimate the heat, humidity and wind on the island, but relative to past years, 2018 was a “once in a blue moon” occurrence.

But, did Lange receive outside assistance?

Did Andreas Drietz and Patrick Lange violate rule 2.02?

Strava catches triathlete red-handed

First reported by marathoninvestigation.com, Anita Carcone an Arizonian elementary school teacher and age group triathlete was disqualified after cutting the bike course short at the 2018 San Diego International Triathlon.

No records recognized at Ironman Texas this year

There seems to always be something with Ironman Texas. In 2016, controversy surrounded the race after organizers announced in the weeks leading up to it that the bike course would not be a full 180 km — in fact, that year it was a mere 151 km. This year, both the bike and run course were short by a few kilometres, and so no records were recognized. This was not announced prior to the race leaving some athletes, including Canada’s Jen Annett — who would have set a new world Ironman bike course record with her time of 4:25:11– frustrated.

Jen Annett on the bike in Texas and on pace to break the female Ironman bike course record. Photo: Finisherpix

Later, Ironman decided to recognize all records at Ironman Texas.

Ironman All World Triathlete exposed for course cutting at Mont-Tremblant

Canadian and Ironman All World Athlete, Amanda Wowk was accused of course cutting at Ironman Mont-Tremblant. Highlighted on Marathon Investigation, Wowk has a finishing time of 16:51:30 on Sportstats, while a video of her crossing the line in 13:25:53 with no chip on her foot. Derek Murphy, author of the article, confirmed the results with the Time of Day Finish based on the runners that finished immediately before and after her. He also confirmed this approximate finish time with officials at Sportstats.

Lionel Sanders’ Youtube presence

In March, we took notice to Lionel Sanders’ “occasional” Youtube videos. However, in 2018, Sanders has been committed to giving his fans and the triathlon world unprecedented access to his training, racing and “unconventional” training approaches. Some of our favourite videos include: I am doing another Ironman and Monster Training Day.

Lionel Sanders and his YouTube presence in 2018. Photo: Talbot Cox

Alistair Brownlee takes Ironman 70.3 Dubai in blistering 3:35:30

Returning from six months off of competition after surgery, Alistair Brownlee kicked off his 2018 season with a win and some blazing fast splits at Ironman 70.3 Dubai. Brownlee clocked an overall time of 3:35:30 with an astonishing 22:35 swim, 1:58:51 bike (the only sub-two-hour split of the day) and an untouchable 1:09:34 half-marathon.

Photo: Talbot Cox

Related: Blummenfelt’s new 70.3 world best time

Low-carb high-fat diet led to a decrease in performance

Everyone eats, and what you eat has a huge impact on your performance as an athlete. A 2018 case study in the Human Kinetics Journal revealed that “a long-term low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet impaired the performance and subjective well-being of a world-class vegetarian long-distance triathlete.”

Cody Beals wins in Ironman debut

Wow,” said Cody Beals at the finish.

Cody Beals wins in Ironman debut

Canadian Cody Beals, in his debut full distance race won Ironman Mont-Tremblant. Not only did Beals win, but he also set a new bike and overall course record.

Jan Frodeno wins the 2018 70.3 World Championship

On, Sept. 2, 2018,  while most of Canada was fast asleep, Jan Frodeno won the 2018 Isuzu IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship in South Africa. The women’s race was won by Daniela Ryf.

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