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A record-setting day in Kona – the day in words and pictures

We look back at the day that ushered in a new era of racing in Kona

Photo by: Kevin Mackinnon

It’s been a week of record-setting experiences and firsts here at the Ironman World Championship. A record-sized field, two days of racing and, most of all, rookies changing the game here in Kona. On Thursday Chelsea Sodaro became the first American woman to win the race in over a quarter century. It was also her first appearance in Kona, and just her second full-distance race.

Related: Chelsea Sodaro wins the Ironman World Championship in Kona debut

Today we saw the first four men in the race break the course record. The top three were all competing on the Big Island for the first time, too.

Related: Gustav Iden wins Ironman World Championship with massive record

Suffice it to say, 2022 will go down as the year everything changed here at the Ironman World Championship.

The calm before the storm … Canada’s Lionel Sanders (blue cap) lines up for the start of the 2022 Ironman World Championship.
The Olympic champion, Kristian Blummenfelt, wears a gold swim cap. He was part of a large lead group in the swim.
After Germany’s Florian Angert led the way out of the water, Australia’s Max Neumann led the charge to the bikes.
Blummenfelt and co. weren’t far behind.
It didn’t take long for France’s Sam Laidlow to hammer to the front of the race. He would set a new bike course record of 4:04:36.
Two-time 70.3 world champ Gustav Iden wasn’t far behind, along with countryman Blummenfelt.
Huge crowds were on hand for today’s race.
Sanders wasn’t on form on this day – by the time he finished the bike he was 16:24 behind race leader Laidlow.
Laidlow led for much of the day …
But the Norwegians were chasing hard. Iden would run a record-setting 2:36:15 marathon, enough to overtake Laidlow, while Blummenfelt would post a 2:39:21 split, which wasn’t enough to catch the Frenchman, but enough to get third.
As always, Sanders refused to quit … He would get to the finish line in 34th place (8:32:28).
There was no touching Iden on this day as he ran his way to the Ironman World Championship title, destroying the course record with his 7:40:24 finish time. (Jan Frodeno went 7:51:13 to win the 2019 championship.)
Laidlow had the race of his life to take second ahead of Blummenfelt.
Neumann would take fourth also breaking the old course record with his 7:44:44.
Joe Skipper ran his way to fifth place in 7:54:05.
In his final appearance in Kona, 2014 Ironman world champion Sebastian Kienle took sixth (7:55:40).
Ironman racing returned to Kona … with a bang!