American Hawaii Ironman favorite Mary Beth Ellis crashed her bike in training Monday in Cozumel, Mexico and sustained a broken right collarbone and ligament damage that may preclude her from racing this October in Kona.
“There’s been a 14-year drought for an American to win in Kona, and all of us on the team thought she stood a good chance to break that streak,” TeamTBB manager Alex Bok told LAVA. “Brett (Sutton, TeamTBB head coach) told me he looked at the X-ray and said ‘I can’t ‘Sutto’ this.’”
Ellis is slated to return to her home in Boulder, Colo., for follow-up X-rays to consider whether surgery is necessary, and whether it ends her season.
While it seems likely that the injury will preclude her from starting next month—let alone attempting to improve on her fifth place (and top American) finish—at last year’s Hawaii Ironman World Championship, the team is waiting to make final decision on her ability to participate at the Hawaii Ironman on October 12th until she receives her assessments in Boulder.
Ellis was primed for a top result in Kona this October after a season including wins at Ironman France, Ironman 70.3 Florida and the Alpe d’Huez Long Course Triathlon
The impact was to the same right shoulder that she landed on when she crashed during the race at Ironman France this summer.
While the Cozumel area—host to Ironman Cozumel and Ironman 70.3 Cozumel—has a newly paved loop athletes ride during the race, Ellis crashed into a deep pothole filled with water from recent rains on a local adjoining road.
“To get into the best shape of your life and have this happen, it’s just devastating,” Bok said. “I just spoke with Mary Beth and Eric (Olson, her husband) and we’re going through the emotions. We’re all heartbroken for her.”
For more information on Ellis’ progress, visit teamtbb.com