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Gustav Iden wins Ironman Kona World Championship, smashes course record

Gustav Iden

KAILUA KONA, HAWAII - OCTOBER 08: Gustav Iden of Norway celebrates after winning the IRONMAN World Championships on October 08, 2022 in Kailua Kona, Hawaii. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images for IRONMAN)

Getty Images for IRONMAN

Gustav Iden won the Ironman Kona World Championship in a course record time, becoming the second consecutive Norwegian to win the men’s world title and the first to do so in Kona.

Iden, 26, clocked an unofficial 7 hours, 40 minutes, 24 seconds for the 140.6-mile race (2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, 26.2-mile run) with temperatures in the 80s on the Big Island of Hawaii.

“That was so freakin’ hard,” Iden said. “The last 10K, I was worried about the legend of the island killing me. ... The island really, really tried to put me down, but I think my heart must be stronger than the legend of the island. That was so, so epic.”

He crushed the course record of 7:51:13 set by German Jan Frodeno the last time Kona held the event in 2019. The race was canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic. The 2021 edition was postponed to this past May and moved to St. George, Utah, where another Norwegian, Kristian Blummenfelt, prevailed.

The men’s course record has been lowered at the last four editions of Kona dating to 2017. Going into the 2017 race, the course record was 8:03:56.


Iden also broke the course record for the marathon run, covering the roads in 2:36:15 and becoming the first person in race history to average sub-six-minute-mile pace. The previous run record was 2:39:45, set by German Patrick Lange in 2016.

Iden needed a strong run. He trailed Frenchman Sam Laidlow by 6 minutes, 15 seconds, after the bike. Laidlow, 23, broke the bike course record by covering the 112 miles in 4:04:36. Iden passed Laidlow in the 22nd mile of the run.

Laidlow held for second place, two minutes behind Iden. Blummenfelt, the Tokyo Olympic champion, was third. The top four men all went faster than the 140.6-mile course record.

Iden, the two-time reigning Half Ironman world champion, became the first man to win in his Kona debut since Belgian Luc Van Lierde in 1996. Van Lierde was the first European man or woman to win Kona (which began in 1978). Iden is the ninth consecutive European man to win the Ironman world title.

Iden, eighth in the Tokyo Olympic triathlon, became the youngest man to win Kona since 1982.

“I’m not sure if I’m coming back here,” Iden said. “This was too hard.”

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