As It Happens

'This is Tim's fault': Triathlete kicked out of virtual race after husband trips over cord

Mirinda Carfrae was halfway through her virtual Ironman race when her husband ruined everything.

Despite her initial frustration, the Colorado athlete says ‘this is life and these things happen’

Three-time Ironman world champion Rinny Carfrae was more than halfway through a 90-kilometre virtual bike race when her husband Tim O’Donnell tripped over the cable and dashed her chances of winning. (Ironman/Facebook )


Mirinda (Rinny) Carfrae was halfway through her virtual Ironman race when her husband ruined everything.

The triathlete was competing in the Ironman VR Pro Challenge from her home stationary bike in Colorado when her husband and fellow triathlete, Tim O'Donnell, tried to show his support.

"He came up into our living room and grabbed a couple of my world championship trophies, and I guess he thought that they would be good motivation," Carfrae told As It Happens host Carol Off. 

The race was being broadcast live on Facebook, and O'Donnell was holding up the trophies for her competitors to see.

"He walked around the back and when he came back, he kicked out the cord," she said. "That's how my race was effectively ended."

At the time, Carfrae was about 45 kilometres into the 90-kilometre, four-person race. She was in second place, just a few metres behind the leader. 

"We plugged it back in, but it put me back at the start of the race instead of back where I was," she said. 

She finished the race, but came in last. U.S. triathlete Jocelyn McCauley won the race, followed by Canadians Angela Naeth and Jeanni Seymour.

At first, Carfrae says she thought she'd accidentally disconnected from the software somehow.

"But then as we were talking it through, I realized he'd kicked it. And I'm like, 'It's your fault. You did it!' And he, straightaway, was like, 'It was totally my fault,'" she said.

"When I got the announcer's attention to explain what happened, I said, 'What an idiot!' [Those] were my words that kind of just came out without the filter on."

Carfrae says she's not mad at her husband and is happy everyone had a good chuckle. (Ironman/Facebook )

Carfrae has since softened her stance about her husband's gaffe. 

"For a few minutes, I was a little mad. But then, you know, this is life and these things happen. He did not mean to do it," she said. "He felt bad enough himself without me piling on."

She says the race was more about connecting with other people during this time of physical distancing than it was about winning.

Plus, everyone got a good laugh out of it, she said. 

"I think it resonated well with a lot of people now working at home with their spouses and you're dealing with this new reality of, you know, trying to get work done while you have, you know, family, kids, husbands around," she said.

Meanwhile, O'Donnell is training for his own virtual Ironman race on the weekend. 

"I definitely will not unplug," Carfrae said. "I think I need to come up with ... some good way to get him back."

Written by Sheena Goodyear. Interview produced by Kate Cornick. 

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