Gustav Iden won the Ironman Kona World Championship in record time on the course, becoming the second consecutive Norwegian to win the men’s world title and the first to do so in Kona.
Iden, 26, recorded an unofficial time of 7 hours, 40 minutes and 24 seconds for the 140.6-mile race (2.4 miles swim, 112 miles bike, 26.2 miles run) with temperatures in the 80s on the Big Island of Hawaii.
“It was so difficult,” Iden said. “The last 10K, I was worried the island legend would kill me. … The island really, really tried to put me down, but I think my heart must be stronger than the island legend. It was so, so epic.
He broke the course record of 7:51:13 set by the German John Frodeno the last time Kona held the event was in 2019. The race was canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic. The 2021 edition was postponed to last May and moved to St. George, Utah, where another Norwegian, Kristian Blummenfeltprevailed.
The men’s course record has been lowered in the last four Kona races dating back to 2017. Heading into the 2017 race, the course record was 8:03:56.
IRONMAN KONA: Results
Iden also broke the marathon course record, covering the roads in 2:36:15 and becoming the first person in running history to average an average pace of less than six minutes. The previous race record was 2:39:45, set by the German Patrick Lange in 2016.
Iden needed a strong run. He dragged the French Sam Laidlow of 6 minutes, 15 seconds, after the bike. Laidlow, 23, broke the bike course record by covering the 112 miles in 4:04:36. Iden passed Laidlow on the 22nd mile of the race.
Laidlow was second, two minutes behind Iden. Blummenfelt, the Olympic champion from Tokyo, finished third. The first four men all went faster than the course record of 140.6 miles.
Iden, the two-time reigning Half Ironman world champion, became the first man to win on his Kona debut since the Belgian Luc Van Lierde in 1996. Van Lierde was the first European man or woman to win Kona (which started in 1978). Iden is the ninth consecutive European to win the Ironman World title.
Iden, eighth in the Tokyo Olympic triathlon, became the youngest man to win Kona since 1982.
“I don’t know if I’ll come back here,” Iden said. “It was too hard.”
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