Performances of the Year: Gustav Iden’s incredible Ironman debut

(Photo: Instagram Gustav Iden)

This fall saw the long-anticipated debut races for a couple of Norwegian stars – Olympic gold medalist Kristian Blummenfelt and 70.3 world champion Gustav Iden. We’ll get to Blummenfelt’s debut performance later this week, but since Iden was the first to give the full-distance a go, we’ll have a look at his incredible Ironman Florida race as we recap some of the performances of 2021.

How good was Iden in Panama City Beach? The race can be summed up with this fact – Lionel Sanders ran a 2:40 marathon and ended up almost six-minutes behind.

You can read our recap of the race in Florida here.

Based on the swim times it hardly looked like it would be a fast day – strong currents made the swim times extremely slow, with Sweden’s Robert Kallin leading the way out of the water in 57:59. Iden was 12-seconds behind, with Canadian Lionel Sanders 18-seconds back heading into T1.

Out on the bike the race would quickly turn into a four-man show once Aussie super-cyclist Cam Wurf joined in the fun, although he would end up pulling out of the race after the bike. Out on the run course Iden and Sanders would quickly drop Kallin and the two would run together for 27 km before Sanders dropped off the pace and Iden blazed to an incredible 2:34:51 marathon to take the win in 7:42:57, breaking Joe Skipper’s course record by over three minutes. Sanders would finish second in 7:48:50.

Considering how much time was likely lost in the swim, Iden’s performance was very impressive, setting the stage for his Olympic-champion compatriot a few weeks later, and seemingly marking the beginning of a new era of full-distance stars to the triathlon scene.