It was a performance that, at some levels, was expected while also being a complete surprise. Triathlon fans expected to see Norway’s Olympic gold medalist Kristian Blummenfelt post a fast time in his full-distance debut at Ironman Cozumel. A few weeks before his training partner Gustav Iden had impressed with a course-record performance and big win over Lionel Sanders at Ironman Florida, and many felt that Blummenfelt might be capable of even faster.
He most certainly was. Enjoying a weird combination of perfect conditions despite lots of rain – a down-current swim helped create some speedy swim times followed by favorable wind conditions on the bike and a decrease in temperature and humidity on the run thanks to all the rain – Blummenfelt blasted to an incredible 7:21:12 finishing time for the race.
You can read our recap of the race here.
While there’s been some controversy over whether the time should be considered the fastest full-distance race ever, there is no doubt that Blummenfelt and Iden’s performances last November are ushering in a new era for the sport. While the swim time was certainly aided by the current, allowing the Norwegian to finish the first leg of the race in just 39 minutes, Blummenfelt followed that speedy swim with a 4:02:35 bike and a 2:35:24 marathon. Iden had the opposite experience in the water thanks to currents – he went 58:08 for his swim at Ironman Florida, but then followed that up with a 4:05 bike and a 2:34:50 marathon.
Even if you add 10 minutes to Blummenfelt’s swim time, he would have finished the race in just over seven and a half hours, an incredible debut. In interviews since then he’s suggested that there is more room to improve both on the bike and in the run – a scary thought for his competition.
One thing is for sure, though – that performance of the year has only made us more excited to see Blummenfelt, Iden and the rest of the world’s top full-distance athletes compete in St. George, Utah for the Ironman World Championship next May.