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PTO clarifies fastest times listing after Kristian Blummenfelt’s record-breaking Ironman time

"Fastest Times" page now removed from site

Photo by: Ironman Cozumel

After we posted a story about the Professional Triathletes Organisation’s (PTO) “fastest times” list last Friday, the PTO has sent out a press release in which it “clarifies its ‘fastest times’ listing.”

PTO removes Kristian Blummenfelt’s 7:21 from record list

“The Professional Triathletes Organisation today clarifies the misunderstanding of its “Fastest Times” listing on its website,” the PTO said in the release. “The issue has arisen as a result of an excellent article by Kevin Mackinnon in Triathlon Magazine Canada  here.

You can read the full release here.

“Kevin is one of the most seasoned and well-respected journalists in our sport and his article is a good examination of how, under the current system, it is both unhelpful and almost impossible to benchmark what a ‘world record’ long distance time is,” the release continues. “We could not agree more. We love and respect Kevin and his piece is excellent, however the headline suggests the PTO made an active executive decision to remove Blummenfelt’s Cozumel results from our ‘record list’ and that the PTO is not recognising his Ironman World Record, which is not the case. We are very pleased that debate goes on in our sport and we would not normally respond but rather let everyone enjoy it over some hot eggnog in front of a toasty fire. The only reason we are making this clarification is because it may have left the impression that we were not recognising a tremendous performance by one of our PTO Professionals, and that is something we need to correct.”

Blummenfelt blasts to Ironman Cozumel win in Ironman record time (which might not be recognized due to down-current swim)

The PTO says that it “recognizes and celebrates” Blummenfelt’s race in Cozumel, and that it celebrates “each one of the outstanding performances of all our PTO Professionals and dedicated race organizers.”

“This sport is too bloody difficult and our PTO Professionals race too bloody hard to have any performance diminished by quibbling over distance discrepancies or arguments over currents,” the PTO says. “We will leave that to the pundits and fans to debate.”  

According to the PTO the “Fastest Times” page on its site was designed “as an informational section” and was “never designed to have a ‘world record keeping’ function.” The page would automatically load performances, and then the PTO’s “data expert” Thorsten Radde (from trirating.com) “would make judgements to include or exclude certain races, so that the list might have meaningful comparisons, but it was never designed to pass judgement on ‘records.'”

“Because the ‘Fastest Time’ page is subject to misinterpretation and factors outside of our control and, as Kevin Mackinnon so accurately points outs, a listing of ‘world record’ times is impossible to determine, we have eliminated the ‘Fastest Time’ page from the PTO World Rankings website,” the PTO says.

What will remain is the “High Score” ranking, which awards points based on an “ideal time measurement for each course” that is determined by historical data and takes into consideration course conditions on the day. If an athlete hits the ideal time they earn 100 points – if they go faster than that ideal time, they earn more than 100 points. Jan Frodeno has the top four performances on that ranking, with Patrick Lange holding the next two top performances, while the top six women’s performances are shared by Chrissie Wellington and Daniela Ryf.