(Reuters) – Jan Frodeno won his third Ironman World Championship triathlon in a course record time in Hawaii on Saturday and continued German dominance of the men’s event.
Frodeno, the 2008 Olympic champion, produced a good swim and then scorched the bike course to open a lead of more than two minutes starting the marathon run under a fierce sun on the Big Island.
The 38-year-old set a cracking pace from his very first step and inexorably extended his advantage, enjoying the luxury of being able to savour his achievement by walking across the finish line to add to his previous victories in 2015 and 2016.
Frodeno’s unofficial time of seven hours, 51 minutes and 13 seconds was more than three minutes better than the previous record time set by compatriot Patrick Lange last year.
Frodeno said the time had been insignificant compared to the victory.
“My legs are shattered,” he said.
“I don’t care about the record. It’s a championship, the Wimbledon of our sport.“
American Tim O’Donnell also broke eight hours for a distant second place, while German Sebastian Kienle claimed third.
German men have won the past six years, with Lange (2017 and 2018) and Kienle (2014) also notching victories.
Lange pulled out during the bike leg on Saturday, reportedly suffering from a fever.
The Ironman comprises a 3.8 km swim, 180 km bike ride and 42.2 km run.
The race was first held in 1978 to settle a friendly argument among Hawaiian endurance athletes as to who was the fittest.
(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; editing by Grant McCool)