Racing might have been limited through much of the last couple of years because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but that doesn’t seem to have slowed the worlds’ top long-distance athletes very much. In fact, there’s been a full-scale assault on the full-distance record book this year – half of the top-10 men’s and women’s times were set in 2021.
That point was headlined last weekend when Kristian Blummenfelt shattered the world-best time for an Ironman with his 7:21:12 performance in Cozumel. While we, and other news outlets wondered whether the time would be accepted as world best time, Ironman confirmed today that as far as it is concerned, Blummenfelt has the “Ironman best time” thanks to his impressive performance in Mexico.
Blummenfelt’s performance in Cozumel was just one of five that have ended up on the top-10 list of the fastest full-distance efforts.
So here’s a list of the top-10 full-distance times (as far as we can tell, anyway!) As we mentioned in our “world records” story – see below – we are fully aware that designated world-best times at triathlon events is always a difficult task. We’re going to forego the challenging questions of whether times should be part of this list because of down-current swims (Cozumel) or because the race was an exhibition event (the Zwift Tri-Battle Royale) – this is purely a list of the fastest times we can track down for the distance.
Some interesting notes:
- Chrissie Wellington (pictured above) has three times in the top-10 for the women
- Jan Frodeno has two times in the men’s top-10
- Ironman Cozumel and Challenge Roth both have five times on this list
- Sadly there are no Canadians on the top-10 list – Lionel Sanders’ 7:43:30 from the Tri-Battle Royale got bumped with the flurry of fast times this fall
Top 10 men’s and women’s full-distance triathlon times
|Kristian Blummenfelt||NOR||7:21:12||Ironman Cozumel 2021|
|Jan Frodeno||GER||7:27:53||Tri-Battle Royale 2021|
|Jan Frodeno||GER||7:35:39||Challenge Roth 2016|
|Ruedi Wild||SUI||7:36:35||Ironman Cozumel 2021|
|Kristian Hogenhaug||DEN||7:37:46||Challenge Almere-Amsterdam 2021|
|Matt Hanson||USA||7:39:25||Ironman Texas 2018|
|Jesper Svensson||SWE||7:39:26||Challenge Almere-Amsterdam 2021|
|Ivan Tutukin||RUS||7:39:57||Ironman Texas 2018|
|Tim Don||GBR||7:40:23||Ironman Brazil 2017|
|Paul Schuster||GER||7:41:32||Ironman Cozumel 2021|
|Chrissie Wellington||GBR||8:18:13||Challenge Roth 2011|
|Chrissie Wellington||GBR||8:19:13||Challenge Roth 2010|
|Daniela Ryf||SUI||8:22:04||Challenge Roth 2016|
|Sara Svensk||SWE||8:22:41||Ironman Cozumel 2021|
|Daniela Ryf||SUI||8:26:18||Ironman World Championship 2018|
|Melissa Hauschildt||AUS||8:31:05||Ironman Texas 2018|
|Lucy Charles-Barclay||GBR||8:31:09||Challenge Roth 2019|
|Gurutze Frades Larralde||ESP||8:31:12||Ironman Cozumel 2021|
|Sarissa de Vries||NED||8:32:05||Challenge Almere-Amsterdam 2021|
|Chrissie Wellington||GBR||8:33:36||Ironman South Africa 2011|
For years Challenge Roth reigned supreme as the fastest full-distance course in the world, but this year there are a couple of new contenders for the crown – Ironman Cozumel and Challenge Almere. If you go simply by the fastest times ever done over the full-distance, those three races now have the lion’s share of the top-10 times.
Of course one year does not necessarily prove the point. Last weekend at Ironman Cozumel we saw Blummenfelt and four others put themselves on the top-10 full-distance list. The flat, fast conditions in Cozumel are usually tempered by strong winds and high temperatures. This year’s amazing performances came at an event that featured lots of rain and 27 degree temperatures with 81 per cent humidity – not exactly the easiest conditions for a fast race, one would have thought.
In September, Challenge Almere, which served as the World Triathlon Long Distance World Championships, saw three times added to the list as well. Usually considered a tough course because of the long stretches on open roads with strong winds, this year’s race in The Netherlands featured favourable wind conditions, which the elite athletes took full advantage of.
So, does that mean Cozumel and Almere should be first on your list if you’re gunning after a fast time? Probably not – you’re likely still safest to head to Challenge Roth for that PB. If we see more fast times from those races in the future, though, we might have to revise that outlook.