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Ultraman 2011: Ribeiro, Monforte crowned world champs again

Alexandre Ribeiro crosses the finish line Sunday at Old Kona Airport for his fifth Ultraman World Championships title. (Hawaii 24/7 photo by Karin Stanton)

Karin Stanton | Hawaii 24/7 Editor

The names in the 2011 Ultraman World Championships record books will look a little familiar.

Alexandre Ribeiro, 46, of Brazil won his fifth world championship and Amber Monforte, 33, of Reno, Nev. earned her second consecutive crown Sunday in Kona.

Ribeiro had the quickest combined time over three days, crossing the finish line in 22 hours, 9 nines and 54 seconds.

Monforte was the top woman, and sixth overall, with a time of 24:15:13.

Ribeiro had to hunt down Ultraman rookie Michael Coughlin, 38, of Canada on the 52.4-mile Hawi-to-Kona run. Also in the mix heading into Day 3 was two-time former champion Jonas Colting, 38, of Sweden, who dropped out of the run with hip pain.

Ribeiro, who also won the Ultraman world titles in 2003, 2005, 2008 and 2009, said he was thrilled to win again in Kona.

“To be world champion is hard to believe,” he said. “I had a great swim. I wasn’t seasick. The second day was excellent, but the wind. I’ve been here seven years and I never saw anything like that. And the run today was excellent conditions. A tailwind the whole time.”

Race director Jane Bockus said she was pleased to see Ribeiro have a good race after last year’s fourth place finish. He was hampered by an upset stomach all three days.

“Alexandre is a true gentleman, a great champion,” she said. “He loves this race so much, he calls this his second home.”

Michael Coughlin and Alexandre Ribeiro congratulate each other at the finish line. (Hawaii 24/7 photo by Karin Stanton)

Ribeiro agreed this year definitely stands out over last year.

“I was very happy even to finish last year,” he said. “I had to finish for my three children. It was good for them to see Daddy run through that.”

In second place, Coughlin made a remarkable debut in the Ultraman World Championships, less than 10 minutes behind Ribeiro at 22:19:08. He served as an Ultraman crew member in 2005 and was back in Kona again in 2006 to race in Ironman.

“It was incredible, a fabulous weekend. I got an inkling that this was a special place on my last two trips,” he said. “But to experience all that this island has to dish out, it’s hard to put into words. You do this race with the people you love and they get to see you when you are strong and when you are weak.”

Coughlin said he was especially appreciative of the friendly, supportive atmosphere between athletes and their crews.

“This race is an opportunity to bring out the best in each other. You squeeze a little more out of each other than if you were alone,” he said. “That bond we share is one of the most cherished things I’ll take away from this weekend.”

Third overall was Ribeiro’s friend and sometime training partner, Miro Kregar, 49, of Slovenia, who had the day’s best run time of 6:24:10. His total time was 23:33:11.

Amber Monforte had the day's eighth best run time and won the women's race by more than 4 hours. (Hawaii 24/7 photo by Karin Stanton)

Monforte set the all-time women’s record at the Ultraman distance last year, with 24:07:11. The time might have been slower this year, but the world crown is still hers.

“It was hard. Day 1 was awesome, but Day 2 was tough. You just had to go a lot slower, just to be safe,” she said.

“I work as a registered nurse so I know a lot of people who can’t do things like this,” Monforte said. “I think about them a lot when I’m out there. A lot of it is mental training because it hurts out there, so it helps for me to think about them.”

Although Monforte was sick and fought injuries earlier this year, she said she wouldn’t have missed the race.

“I just love the family nature of it all. My crew had a flat tire on Saturday, but the other crews jumped in and helped get them back on the road right away,” she said. “It’s amazing. It’s Ultraman. I love it.”

The second place woman was Vanuza Maciel, 41, of Brazil, at 28:30:32 and third place went to Consuela Lively, 40, of Florida, at 29:35:25.

Michael Coughlin takes a post-race cold bath in the S.S. Crampy. (Hawaii 24/7 photo by Karin Stanton)


Most notable during this year’s three-day 320-mile triathlon were the high winds during Saturday’s bike leg. With gusts exceeding 50 mph along the Kohala mountain road, several athletes gave up trying to ride and walked their bikes.

Not everyone, though.

“Of course not,” Ribeiro said. “There is no walking in a bike race. But it was getting dangerous. I passed Michael (Coughlin) on the uphill, but then on the downhill side, he just went by me fast. I was thinking he would crash. Michael is fantastic, unbelievable.”

Bockus conceded the conditions were insanely tough, even for the Big Island.

“The winds were horrendous. I haven’t seen it like that since 1999,” she said.

Support crews trailing the athletes in vans reported seeing bikes blown clear across two lanes and cyclists leaning over at impossible angles to compensate for the wind.


One of the athletes who did not finish was Amy Palmiero-Winters, who was the first athlete with a below-the-knee prosthesis to attempt the Ultraman course.

Palmiero-Winters, who won the 2010 ESPY Award for Best Female Athlete with a Disability, missed the cut-off time on Day 1, but continued to race and missed the Day 2 cut-off time by 7 minutes.

She attempted Sunday’s run, but had difficultly with her prosthesis and dropped out.

Before the race, Palmiero-Winters said, “I race in ultras to help others see what is possible. We all face challenges and we are all given 2 choices — give up or move on and be better in spite of — I choose to be better and help others.”

Also dropping out were Rich Roll with a fever and lung congestion and Mike Rouse, who crashed his bike early on Day 2 and suffered a broken arm.

Big Island athletes

Cory Foulk, 52, Kailua-Kona, completed his 19th Ultraman with a time of 31:17:23.

On the women’s side, Laurie Beers, 57, of Kona, completed her third Ultraman in 32:12:12.

Ultraman rookie Susan Smith-Nixon, 43, of Waimea, clocked in at 33:12:46.

(Hawaii 24/7 photo by Karin Stanton)


The Ultraman World Championships cover a total distance of 320 miles (515 kilometers), around the Big Island and require each athlete to complete a 6.2 mile (10 K) open ocean swim, a 261.4 mile (421 K) cross-country bike ride, and a 52.4 mile (84K) ultra-marathon run.

Day 1 – 6.2-mile (10 km) ocean swim from Kailua Bay to Keauhou Bay, followed by a 90-mile (145 km) cross-country bike ride from Keauhou Bay around the southern tip of the island via Route 11 to finish at Namakani Paio Park in the Volcanoes National Park. Vertical climbs total 7,600 feet.

Day 2 – 171.4-mi (276 km) bike ride, from Volcanoes National Park (Route 11) to Keaau, then turning east with a counter-clockwise loop through Kalapana, Kapoho and Pahoa, then on through the City of Hilo. From Hilo, the route continues north along the Hamakua Coast (Route 19) to Waimea, and over the Kohala Mountains via Route 250 to finish at the Kohala Village Inn on Hawi Road, just above its junction with Route 270. Vertical climbs total 8,600 feet.

Day 3 – 52.4-mile (84 km) double-marathon run from Hawi to Kawaihae (Route 270), then on to Kailua-Kona (via Route 19) and finishing on the beach at the Old Airport State Park.

Time Limits: Each stage must be completed in 12 hours or less. The swim should be completed in 5-1/2 hours or less. Participants not reaching the respective finish lines within the 12 hour limits will be disqualified.

The race is limited to 40 athletes, with participants this year from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, England, Germany, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Japan, Puerto Rico, and the United States. More than 50 percent of the field will have participated in at least one previous Ultraman.

Each must be accompanied by an individual support team of at least two persons over the entire course. Many of these team members volunteer from the Big Island community each year.

The event attracts individuals who not only thrive on personal challenge and enjoy the thrill of victory, but who come to understand, as did the ancient Hawaiians, the importance of aloha (love), ohana (family), and kokua (help). Individual resources, mental, physical, and spiritual, are shared in an atmosphere where everyone who completes the course is a winner, and the pursuit of human excellence is the fundamental rule of the road.

— Find out more:

Race # Last
Age Sex Bike
(261.4 mi total)
(52.4 mi)
(320 mi total)
564 Ribeiro Alexandre 46 M 12:51:46 6:30:39 22:09:54 1
545 Coughlin Michael 38 M 12:34:42 6:47:47 22:19:08 2
554 Kregar Miro 49 M 13:51:13 6:24:10 23:33:11 3
543 Cokan Nino 38 M 13:26:40 8:03:51 24:17:46 4
553 Howard Jeremy 31 M 14:48:49 7:04:00 24:24:34 5
559 Monforte Amber 33 F 13:56:37 7:50:27 24:42:02 6
570 Sousa Milton 37 M 14:31:39 7:26:28 25:01:01 7
558 Meniconi Sergio 46 M 15:20:44 7:46:26 25:45:52 8
574 Wang Gary 44 M 13:56:55 8:38:44 25:53:20 9
549 Draper Christopher 35 M 14:44:43 7:41:56 25:59:58 10
552 Gower Scott 46 M 15:14:56 9:15:50 27:10:18 11
550 Duhig Kelly 43 M 16:26:29 8:50:16 28:07:28 12
557 Maciel Vanuza 41 F 16:38:34 8:26:29 28:30:32 13
571 Squiller Dan 54 M 16:03:31 9:09:54 28:39:29 14
562 Peruta Adam 33 M 16:43:23 8:30:57 28:57:41 15
539 Alessi Riccardo 42 M 15:59:22 9:21:07 28:59:24 16
556 Lively Consuela 40 F 16:52:16 9:05:38 29:35:25 17
563 Raymond Martin 49 M 18:02:25 9:31:20 30:09:32 18
565 Robb Alice 33 F 16:00:04 11:06:34 30:22:17 19
567 Rouse Kimmie 56 F 16:48:10 9:17:10 30:26:13 20
572 Tollenaar Drake 42 M 16:28:26 9:34:54 30:39:42 21
546 Craveri Juan 43 M 18:57:39 8:29:34 31:14:15 22
551 Foulk Cory 53 M 16:27:57 10:52:24 31:17:23 23
561 Patzina Roland 45 M 17:58:34 10:05:21 31:24:37 24
542 Carter Rusty 36 M 17:16:42 10:49:10 31:39:06 25
540 Beers Laurie 57 F 17:58:09 10:21:41 32:12:12 26
555 Laska Kathy 38 F 18:01:25 10:10:26 32:16:32 27
573 Traslosheros Andres 41 M 18:42:58 9:15:23 32:17:27 28
569 Smith-Nixon Susan 43 F 17:56:20 11:18:19 33:12:46 29
575 Wilson David 65 M 18:44:24 10:56:46 33:54:27 30
538 Alessi Giorgio 46 M 19:09:23 11:25:16 35:10:14 31
547 Degazon Suzy 47 F DNF 10:14:24 21:37:57 DNF
548 Dor Bertrand 60 M DNF 10:38:49 22:11:39 DNF
541 Cairns Duncan 42 M 0:00:00 DNF 0:00:00 DNF
560 Palmiero-Winters Amy 39 F 0:00:00 DNF 0:00:00 DNF
544 Colting Jonas 38 M 13:03:54 DNF 0:00:00 DNF
566 Roll Rich 45 M DNF DNS 0:00:00 DNF
568 Rouse Mike 59 M DNF DNS 0:00:00 DNF

One Response to “Ultraman 2011: Ribeiro, Monforte crowned world champs again”

  1. Emily T Gail says:

    Really caught the flavor of the feeeling at Ultraman from your story Karen. As alwyas great coverage of another event.


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