Men’s long-distance triathlon has a new ‘big three’ after Kristian Blummenfelt followed Jan Frodeno and Gustav Iden by delivering a jaw-dropping full-distance performance in 2021.
The Norwegian announced himself with a stunning debut effort of 7:21:12 in Cozumel on Sunday, the fastest ever time at the Ironman distance. Even if you factor in that ‘Big Blu’ was aided by the current in a lightning-quick swim, it was still a spectacular showing.
Before that his fellow Norwegian Iden had also produced a magnificent debut by winning IRONMAN Florida in 7:42:57 – after a brutal swim which was around 20 minutes slower than that delivered by Blummenfelt in Mexico.
Three months before that the modern-day GOAT Frodeno had broken his own fastest ever Ironman distance time with 7:27:53 in his much-hyped Tri Battle Royale vs. Lionel Sanders in Germany.
So we have three incredible performances to reflect on, and who better to compare them than six-times IRONMAN World Champion Mark Allen.
Three amazing performances
Speaking in a video on his YouTube channel, Allen broke down those three races.
“Two weekends ago Gustav Iden blew the world away with a 7:42 in his first Ironman in Panama City in Florida,” he said.
“And if you factor in some of the conditions and time differentials and stuff and you compare it to the best time ever by Jan Frodeno, their times were pretty darn close. Jan Frodeno went 7:27 a couple of months ago in Germany.
“This past weekend though, Kristian Blummenfelt blew everybody away. He went a 7:21, the fastest Ironman distance time ever in history.
“His first Ironman attempt and he says he’s targeting IRONMAN World Championships, Kona, October 2022. This certainly has to be a sign that this guy, not only does he know what he’s talking about, but when he says he’s gonna go for something, he backs it up with a performance. Gustav Iden does the same thing. Jan Frodeno does the same thing.”
So how do those three astonishing times compare? All set on difference courses on different days in very different conditions. Allen provided his take.
Comparing the times
“So let me just sort of break down the times just a little bit in the three races and see how they might have compared if you stacked them all against each other.
“Jan Frodeno, he designed the course, he and Lionel Sanders, two men – mano a mano – went at it, no pressure other than focusing on having a fast time. 7:27, worlds record.
“Gustav Iden went 7:42, the swim was terrible, it was horrendous, it was hard – he swam 58, 59 minutes. You subtract that out along with some longer transitions and it puts his time of 7:42 pretty much right around that 7:30 mark.
“Kristian Blummenfelt, gold medallist from Tokyo. Steps up to Ironman distance, 7:21. His swim though though in Cozumel was as close to a downhill swim as you’re gonna get, he went 39 minutes and change. If you add that back in, a little bit of extra time – give him about 7, 8, maybe 9 minutes more that he would have gone in a pure flat swim without any kind of current, that puts him about that 7:30 level.
“So you’ve got three guys right now this year basically went the same time – 7:28 to 7:30 – that’s unbelievable. And those three will hopefully match up together all in one race some time in 2022.”
With Iden currently undecided about Kona, a clash between the big three would appear most likely to take place at the delayed 2021 IRONMAN World Championship, scheduled for May 7, 2022 in St George, Utah.