Graham Shaw19 Oct 2021

Gustav Iden: ‘If you don’t watch this race you’re gonna miss something big’

Gustav Iden is not certain he can beat Jan Frodeno on Sunday, but he is certain it will be must-see TV.
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Gustav Iden is far from certain he can beat Jan Frodeno in Sunday’s huge showdown at IRONMAN California – but he is convinced it will be must-see TV.

Iden will rock up in Sacramento for his first ever race at the full distance on the back of another dominant performance to win a second IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship title in St George last month.

Now the Norwegian, also the newly-crowned PTO World #1, takes on probably his biggest challenge yet in the shape of modern-day GOAT Frodeno.

Iden has been preparing at altitude in Flagstaff, Arizona under the watchful eye of his coach and brother Mikal. And he is happy so far with the preparation and his conditioning.

Speaking in a video posted on Mikal’s YouTube channel, Gustav said: “I think it’s good now, but I think it’s gonna be extremely good when I come down from altitude.

“So even when I’m kind of adapted to the altitude, not struggle, but the pace is always quite much lower. So if my body reacts as normal, I will feel great coming down and I’m looking forward to it.”

Iden on how the race pans out

It’s now four long years since Frodeno last tasted defeat, and Iden has no illusions about the task facing him this weekend. He knows exactly how he expects the race to pan out, at least up to a point.

“I think Jan probably will swim alone on the front. I haven’t been swimming my greatest lately. So yeah, I think he will be alone for quite some time and I will join the train with Sanders, Wurf, Svenningsson and maybe some others.

YouTube video

“And then I will do my best to run a marathon without dying the last 10k. But I think it’s gonna be extremely difficult to beat Jan, but I think I have a chance, but the chance is yeah, very small

“But a podium is within reach if I don’t do anything majorly wrong. The race is really open for me because I’ve never done anything like it before.

“The half-ironmans I’ve done, I’ve not been challenged that much in the end of the run. I don’t feel tired when I finish most of my half-ironmans because I haven’t been pressured that much. So I still could run quite some more, quite harder and longer.

“It’s gonna be extremely interesting. I think if you don’t watch that race you’re gonna miss out on something big.”

California will inform 2022 plans

There are of course two IRONMAN World Championships in 2022 – St George in May and Kona in October. At this stage Iden has not made a firm decision on whether he will be at either. That depends largely on what happens this weekend, and ultimately whether he enjoys the experience.

“Right now I am definitely doing half-ironman World Championship in St George again,” he said.

“And depending on how it is in California, both in terms of enjoyment – because really I do sport because it’s fun, and if I don’t enjoy the full distance, why should I use a year preparing for something that I don’t even like.

“So we’ll see. Maybe I do both races – in St George and Hawaii. Maybe I only do one of them, maybe I don’t do any one. I am a fan of having fun, so yeah – California really decides next year.”