IRONMAN competitor disqualified after first-place finish

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – Tom Clifford, an athlete at this year’s North Carolina IRONMAN triathlon, says he was disqualified because of changes made to the route.


Clifford won the race by 11 minutes just to be told he was out of the race. He said he did not know he had to go around a certain buoy.

He was in the water with a lot of people and said the wind was a big distraction. He said he didn’t listen to his race director and made assumptions that also caused him to be disqualified.

“It’s an error on my part. I missed the buoy and the rules say that if you miss a turn buoy, it’s an automatic disqualification,” Clifford said. “It’s unfortunate for me, but it’s a good lesson for athletes in the future that are doing races.”

From this point forward, Clifford said it’s about humbleness and humility, and it’s not a major setback because he knows more races are to come.

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