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These are the 10 fastest Ironman and full-distance finishes of all time

Kristian Blummenfelt just took down the top spot, can you name the other 9?

Photo by: Kevin Mackinnon

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.

Blummenfelt blasts to Ironman Cozumel win in Ironman record time (which might not be recognized due to down-current swim)

 

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

Men

Name Country Time  Event
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

Women

Name Country Time  Event
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
Chrissie Wellington competes at Challenge Roth. Photo: Challenge-Roth.com

Updated: What are the triathlon “world records” for each distance?

Fast courses?

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.

De Vries and Hogenhaug fly to world titles in Almere with record-shattering day

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.