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Will Frodeno make it to another Kona?

Can the three-time champion become the oldest winner of the Ironman World Championship?

Photo by: Kevin Mackinnon

Were it not for the COVID-19 pandemic, the triathlon world would be focussed on the Big Island of Hawaii this weekend for the Ironman World Championship. The race was originally delayed to February of next year, but has since been rescheduled to St. George, Utah next May.

In a story posted in Germany’s Augsberger Allgemeine today, Frodeno hinted that getting to Kona might be a stretch – he’s 40 now and would be 41 for next year’s world championship event in Kona.
“Let’s see – I hope to be able to experience Hawaii again as a professional,” Frodeno told the newspaper, comparing his age to the 200 km point of a 226 km full-distance race. “But I feel much better than at that point of a competition,” he joked.

Challenge Roth race organizer Felix Walchshoefer was quick to volunteer his race as a possible “retirement” race:

Oldest Ironman finishers

Sister Madonna Buder turned 90 in 2020. Photo: Rich Cruse /crusephoto.com

Japan’s Hiromu Inada was 85 when he finished the Ironman World Championship in 2018, the oldest person to finish the race, and the oldest person to finish a full-distance race. He plans to compete in next year’s race – he will be 90.

Sister Madonna Buder was 82 when she finished Ironman Canada in 2012, the oldest woman to complete a full-distance race. Harriet Anderson is the oldest woman to have completed Kona – she was 78 when she finished the race in 2015.

Oldest pro Kona winners

Here’s some stats courtesy of Thorsten Radde from Trirating.com on the ages of Kona winners over the years:

  • The youngest female winners are Kathleen McCartney (1982) and Sylviane Puntous (1983) at 22 years.
  • The youngest male winner was Scott Tinley (also in 1982) with 25 years.
  • Most of the “young winners” are from the early years of the race. Daniela Ryf was the youngest winner in the 2000s, she was 28 in 2015, but there were eleven female winners that were younger than her. On the male side, Faris Al-Sultan was 27 when he won in 2005, he’s the only winner in the 2000s who was younger than 30.
  • Craig Alexander (2011) and Natascha Badmann (2005) are the oldest male and female winners at 38 years of age.