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2023 Age Group Triathlete(s) of the Year

Some frighteningly fast age group performers make this an impossible call

Photo by: Kevin Mackinnon

Trying to come up with just one winner for this award was, well, let’s just go with challenging. With so many age categories and so many different length of races, it really is a tough category to call. (We are more than open to any suggestions of contenders – or a champion, for that matter – we might have missed.) As has been our norm, we’ll start with a list of contenders and then list our triathlete(s) of the year at the end of the story:


Donald Brooks, GBR, 45-49: was the fastest men’s age grouper at the World Triathlon Age-Group Championships Pontevedra in a time of 2:00:10

Phoebe Kelly, AUS, 25-29: was the fastest women’s age group athlete in Pontevedra in a time of 2:13:57

Denis Pierrat, FRA, 65-69: easily won his age group in the Super Sprint in Pontevedra in a time of 27:10. That would have placed him fifth in the 25-29 category! Pierrat also won his age group in the Standard (Olympic) Distance worlds in Pontevedra in a frighteningly fast 2:21:51.

Benjamin Stone, USA, 25-29: won both the Olympic (1:51:53) and sprint (56:06) distance races overall at the USA Triathlon National Championships in Milwaukee

Mariana Marques, POR, 35-39: Would have been the 14th pro woman in the World Long Distance Championships Ibiza in a time of 6:39:17

Donald Brooks, GBR, 45-49 and Tim Bradley, USA, 60-64: Both won their age groups at both the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Lahti, Finland and then repeated the feat at the Ironman World Championship in Nice, France

Judy Daggett, USA, 65-69: was the only woman to make the double, taking the world titles in Lahti and Kona

2023 Long-distance triathlete of the year

Age-group triathletes of the year

We said this was going to be a tough one to call, right? So we’re going to chicken out and name three winners of this category – two men and one woman. While we were worried about being a bit biased on the men’s front, but when you look at the results it is hard not to acknowledge the incredible performance of these two Canadian masters stars.

Donna Kay-Ness

Photo: Kevin Mackinnon

The American has competed in Kona 12 times since her first appearance in 1991 – the only two times she hasn’t won when she’s been there were the two years she finished second. In 2023 Kay-Ness dominated the 60-64 age group, breaking the 11 hour barrier with her 10:57:10 finish. That broke the previous course record in Kona (Julia Daggett’s 11:41:44) by almost 45 minutes.

Jim Stewart

Photo: FinisherPix

Stewart, who hails from Surrey, B.C., Canada, won his age group by 92 minutes in Ibiza with an incredible 7:30:12 finish. The 70-year-old followed that up with an impressive win at the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Lahti, Finland, taking his age group in a blazing 5:19:08.

Bob Knuckey

What is it about all these fast over-70 Canadians? Knuckey was the only 75-year-old to complete the gruelling Ironman World Championship Nice course with his 14:57:40 finishing time. That would have put him third in the 70-74 age group.

Who said a 75-year-old couldn’t get up those mountains? Meet the oldest finisher of the Ironman World Championship Nice