Shortly after his Olympic victory in Tokyo earlier this year, Norway’s Kristian Blummenfelt made it clear that his next goal was to win the Ironman World Championship in October. He was actually entered in the Ironman European Championship in Frankfurt just a few weeks after the Olympics, but after he was given a wildcard spot to Kona skipped that race to focus on the World Triathlon Championship Series Grand Final in Edmonton, which he won.
His Ironman focus remained, though, and today he made his Ironman debut in Cozumel, continuing an amazing year that now includes the fastest times ever at an Ironman event and one of the fastest times ever for a full-distance race. His 7:21:12 eclipses Jan Frodeno’s 7:27:53 at the Tri Battle Royale earlier this year. The only question now is whether or not Blummenfelt’s record time will be acknowledged due to the down-current swim in Cozumel.
Ironman Cozumel is renowned for its fast swim times thanks to a generous current, and today was no different as Germany’s Paul Schuster led the way out of the water in 39:39 with Blummenfelt on his heels along with Australian Tim Rea and Poland’s Robert Wilkowiecki.
A large group of 14 formed early on the bike that included Blummenfelt and many of the other pre-race favourites including Patrik Nilsson (SWE), Pieter Heemeryck (BEL) and Ruedi Wild (SUI). The group was still together through 55 km, but after that Nilsson and Blummenfelt started to pull clear on the flat, fast Cozumel course. Through 166 km the two had a lead of 6:47 on the group. Something happened to Nilsson, though, over the final part of the bike as he ended up hitting T2 back with the group, over eight minutes behind the Olympic champ.
Blummenfelt’s brilliant marathon
Blummenfelt’s lead would never even remotely challenged as he steadily pulled away from the rest of the men in the field, running an incredible 2:35:24 to take the win. Wild would run his way to second, with Schuster taking a close race with Wilkowiecki for third – just 20 seconds separated the two at the finish line.