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Record-setting year at the Ironman World Championship

It was a year like no other in Kona - here's the data to prove it!

Photo by: Kevin Mackinnon

With two days of racing and a return to the Big Island of Hawaii after three years away, we knew that this year’s Ironman World Championship would offer an exciting week of racing. The week was even more groundbreaking that we could have imagined, including a two-hour course record by Australia’s Lauren Parker (pictured above) in the women’s hand cycle division.

Here are some of the statistics courtesy of Ironman from last week’s record-setting Ironman World Championship:

  • For the first time in the 45 years of the Ironman World Championship, the event was hosted as a two-day event with the professional women and professional men both being able to race on their own days. With the extra time, professional men, including would-be 2022 Ironman World Champion Gustav Iden (NOR) and the 2021 Ironman World Champion Kristian Blummenfelt (NOR), lined the course to support the women racing, while the women did the same, with Sarah Crowley (AUS) even volunteering at an aid station
  • With a two-day event, this was the largest female and overall athlete field to compete at the Ironman World Championship (Ironman reported that over 5,000 athletes were registered for the event. 2,592 started on Thursday, while 2,612 started the Saturday race.)
  • With a time of 16:31:27, Chris Nikic (USA) became the first person with Down syndrome to finish the Ironman World Championship; It just so happens it was also Chris’ 23rd birthday on race day
  • With a time of 13:05:44, 29-year-old Sam Holness (GBR) became the first known person with autism to finish the Ironman World Championship

  • Chelsea Sodaro became the first American woman to win The Ironman World Championship since 1996. The last American female to win prior to Sodaro was the Queen of Kona, Paula Newby-Fraser, who is from Zimbabwe, but became a United States citizen prior to winning in 1996. American Karen Smyers won in 1995 breaking a streak from 1985 without a female winner from the U.S.
    • Sodaro was also the first male or female American to win the Ironman World Championship since 2002
    • Sodaro also was the first professional rookie to win the event in 15 years
    • Sodaro won just 18 months after giving birth to her daughter
  • Lauren Parker (AUS) became just the 3rd female handcyclist to finish the Ironman World Championship. In the process, she set a new world best time for the female handcycle division with a finish time of 12:20:35, breaking the previous best set in 2018 by over 2 hours
  • Austria’s Thomas Fruhwirth also broke the previous handcycle division men’s record, completing the race in 8:15:39, beating Jetze Plat’s record set in 2017 of 8:41:47.
France’s Sam Laidlow would set a new bike course record of 4:04:36.
  • Sam Laidlow (FRA) set a new course best for the Ironman World Championship with a time of 4:04:34, besting the previous best of 4:09:06 set in 2018 by Cameron Wurf
  • Gustav Iden (NOR) had a historic day finishing in a time of 7:40:24 to set a new course best and earn his first Ironman World Championship victory breaking Jan Frodeno’s mark of 7:51:13 from 2019. He also ran a 2:36:15 setting a new run course best that surpassed Patrick Lange’s (DEU) time of 2:39:45 from 2016
    • Iden is the first male rookie to win the event since the debut of professionals
  • On Saturday, the top 10 men all finished Sub-8-hours showing the growth in competitive long-distance triathlon in a very short time. It wasn’t long ago that breaking the 8-hour mark in the men’s professional Ironman World Championship race was the time to strive for. It wasn’t broken until 2018 when Patrick Lange won with a time of 7:52:39
  • At 78 years old, Cherie Gruenfeld (USA) became the oldest female athlete to finish the Ironman World Championship.
  • Warren Hill (NZL) was the oldest male to finish the 2022 Ironman World Championship at 82 years of age. From Auckland, Warren crossed the line in 16:16:25 to finish second in the 80-84 age group
Max Neumann broke the old course record with his 7:44:44.
  • Max Neumann who finished fourth, recorded the best finish by an Australian male professional since Luke McKenzie finished third in 2013
    • Neumann’s finishing time of 7:44:44 is now the fastest ever time recorded by an Australian in an Ironman