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Germany’S Frodeno, Haug Top The Podium At 2019 Ironman World Championship

Reading: Germany'S Frodeno, Haug Top The Podium At 2019 Ironman World Championship

Tag: who won the iron man 2019

Tom Pennington/Getty Images for IRONMAN

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – There’s a magical aura that sweeps over the Big Island of Hawaii every October, when the world’s most elite athletes join together in Kailua-Kona for an opportunity at superior IRON-cracy. This year’s 41st IRONMAN World Championship proved no different, as Germany topped the podium in the men’s and women’s races for the first time.

After Jan Frodeno ousted last year’s overall course record set by countryman Patrick Lange to capture his third world title, countrywoman Anne Haug claimed her first title, crossing the famous Ali’i Drive finish in 8:40:10 and ending the four-year championship reign of Switzerland’s Daniela Ryf. Haug’s victory was the first of its kind for German women, while Frodeno became the first German to capture three world championship titles.

“I was nervous and anxious,” said Frodeno, who completed the 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike and 26.2-mile marathon in seven hours, 51 minutes, 13 seconds. “Toward the tail-end, fatigue sets in. It’s a hard day. I was super-stoked.”

After dealing with an injury during the run portion of the race in 2017, Frodeno was forced to drop out of last year’s competition due to a stress fracture in his hip. But the 38-year-old came back to Kona this year in a big way. “I had moments of gratitude,” said Frodeno. “And I remembered how much last year sucked.”

After finishing the swim segment in 47:31—only three seconds behind the leader, Australia’s Josh Amberger—Frodeno recorded a stellar 4:16:03 bike split. But entering the run, Frodeno would have to cement a 2:44 marathon for record-setting status. It proved to be no problem for Frodeno—he sizzled the lava-laden pavement in 2:42:43.

American Tim O’Donnell recorded his top finish at the world championship (second overall) and was the first American to cross the finish line (7:59:41) for the second consecutive year. O’Donnell narrowed the gap to Frodeno by 2:19 after he recorded a 4:18:11 bike, but Frodeno’s wicked 5:35 average pace during the first 10.5 miles of the run proved to be crushing. “This race is very mental,” O'Donnell said.

Following Frodeno and O’Donnell to the podium was Germany’s 2014 champion Sebastian Kienle, who once again proved he’s worthy of Big Island recognition with the fastest bike of the trio in 4:15:05.

“I knew it was going to be a tough task,” said Kienle, who completed this year’s 140.6 miles in 8:02:04. “I had the confidence to give it a try, but I realized it’s Jan’s show again. The goals changed from maybe I can win this thing, to maybe I can get second, to maybe I can finish. It’s more or less making it to the finish line, and at this moment you don’t really care about the guy in front. It feels so much better if you have to fight for it.”

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Adding to the top five were the U.S.’s Ben Hoffman (8:02:52) and Australia’s Cameron Wurf (8:06:41).

“Jan stole the show,” Hoffman said. “We all need to acknowledge that was a world-class performance. It was mind-boggling. Hats-off for setting the bar so high.”

Approximately 95,000 professional and age group athletes attempted to qualify for the 2019 IRONMAN World Championship through more than 40 global IRONMAN events. This year's race sported a competitor field representing 75 countries, regions and territories, from six continents. New York-native Roderick Sewell became the first bilateral above-knee amputee to finish the IRONMAN World Championship on prosthetic legs, completing the race in 16:26:59.

At the start of the run in the elite women’s race, Germany’s Haug fell behind by an 8:01 deficit to leader Great Britain’s Lucy Charles-Barclay—last year’s second place women’s finisher—before she incredibly narrowed the gap to 1:48 at mile 12. With just over 4 miles to go, Haug powered past then-second-placer Australia’s Sarah Crowley and Charles-Barclay and sailed to a comfortable 4:45 gap over the duo.

“If you’re in the mix from the beginning, it gives you more technical options,” Haug said. “[On the bike] I was struggling a bit, but on the run I found my rhythm quite quick[ly]. I had to be smart. I was trying to give the very best I could, and I was really surprised about my 2:51 [marathon]. It was great.”

But Charles-Barclay wasn’t ready to ditch her podium opportunity just yet. After leading the race for a jaw-dropping 7:30 hours, she produced some electrical bolts of her own, passing Crowley at the 24-mile mark and finishing in second place in 8:46:44.

“I felt really strong on the bike and I made sure I pushed the pace going into T2,” said Charles-Barclay. “On the run, the cramping started to go away and then came back a little. I was pretty sure I was going to get caught, but I just wanted to hang on and stay strong. It was really, really tough but I decided to go all-in and see what happens.”

Crowley, who was fourth overall at the beginning of the 26.2 miles and posted an 8:02 gap to Charles-Barclay at the marathon’s start, finished third with an impressive 8:48:13.

“When I got on the run, I just focused on my cadence and staying quite relaxed,” Crowley said. “It’s great to be able to get into a battle—that’s why we get into this sport. But I’m very pleased with today, I couldn’t have given it any more.”

Rounding out the women’s top five standouts were Kona rookie, Germany’s Laura Philipp (8:51:42) and American Heather Jackson (8:54:44), who made her best world championship time-based showing, after making her pro debut in 2015.

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