Ironman has recently announced that the Ironman World Championship and Ironman 70.3 World Championship has been cancelled. But with this setback, athletes will be all the more focused on the 2021 race season, potentially pushing themselves and fellow competitors to faster times -- perhaps new records.
Bahrain Endurance 13 members own a few of these records: Jan Frodeno holds the full distance world record (7:35.39) and set a new course record in Kona last year (7:51.13); Daniela Ryf set the current Kona record in 2018 (8:26.18); Kristian Blummenfelt set a new 70.3 world record in 2018 and then broke it again last year (3:25.21), and Alistair Brownlee last year went 7:45:21 to break the Ironman Western Australia course record that Terenzo Bozzone had set in 2016 (7:51.56).
“I think with more and more ITU athletes stepping up to middle distance, I see the times in Ironman and 70.3 getting faster,” says Javier Gomez. “We’ve seen it in the last few years: each race is faster, each world champion is faster. It’s pretty exciting and we haven’t reached the limit yet.”
Ben Kanute, who has shown his versatility racing ITU and 70.3, notes, “We’re approaching the benchmark of trying to get under 3:20 for the men and 3:50 for the women. With more and more fast athletes pushing each other at the front of the race I think those half ironman times will continue to fall.”
Terenzo Bozzone agrees that the new breed of athletes coming through contributes to even Ironman racing getting faster. He counts Jan Frodeno’s performance in Kona last year as a new benchmark for Ironman, getting swim, bike, and run performance to peak all on the same day. “Sub-8 in Kona was always that elusive number. To replicate that would be a big achievement.”
Bozzone says, “On a lot of races the women beat half the men’s field. I think Daniela on a good day when everything lines up for her can break 8 hours.”
Alistair Brownlee says it’s only a matter of time. “I think a Sub-8 Ironman by a woman is much more achievable than a Sub-7 by a man.”
With burning ambition and a thirst for competing against the world’s best driving them, it’s not a question of whether a Bahrain Endurance 13 member can set a new world record. It’s a matter of when that will come to pass.