Defending Ironman world champions Patrick Lange (GER) and Daniella Ryf (SUI) both made history in their respective title defences by setting new course records in individual winning efforts in Kona, Hawaii on Saturday.
Lange, who set a new benchmark last year with a time of 8 hours 1 minutes 40 seconds over the 3.86km (2.4 mile) swim, 180.25km (112 mile) bike and 42.2km (26.22 mile) run course, became the first to break eight hours (7:52:39) on the Big Island in the race’s 40-year history.
However, runner-up Bart Aernouts (BEL) soon followed suit recording a sub-8 time of 7:56:41, while bronze-medallist David McNamee (GBR) broke the previous record by 31 seconds with a time of 8:01:09.
The fastest time for an Ironman is 7:40:23, set by British triathlete Tim Don at the South American Championships in Florianopolis, Brazil last year.
The 32-year-old German immediately dropped to one knee upon his successful title retention and proposed to his girlfriend in front of the thousands in attendance and millions watching via livestream and on TV around the world.
In the women’s pro field, it was Ryf once again the victor for a fourth consecutive year despite a lacklustre swim leg that saw the 31-year-old Suisse battle back nine minutes on the bike and surpass Britain’s Lucy Charles (8:36:32) on the Queen K Highway to set a new bike leg record of 4:26:07.
Ryf also set a new course record (8:26:16) and came oh so close to finishing within her goal of 30 minutes of the elite men’s time.
Women’s three-time champion Miranda Carfrae, who returned after missing the past two years due to childbirth, finished fifth (8:50:44) behind a pair of Kona debutants Sarah True (USA) in fourth (8:43:42) and Anne Haug (GER) in third (8:41:57).
Top 5 pro men:
1. Patrick Lange (GER), 7:52:39
2. Bart Aernouts (BEL), 7:56:41
3. David McNamee (GBR), 8:01:09
4. Tim O’Donnell (USA), 8:03:17
5. Braden Currie (NZL), 8:04:41
Top 5 pro women:
1. Daniela Ryf (SUI), 8:26:16
2. Lucy Charles (GBR), 8:36:32
3. Anne Haug (GER), 8:41:57
4. Sarah True (USA), 8:43:42
5. Mirinda Carfrae (AUS), 8:50:44