One thing is not in question after IRONMAN Cozumel 2021 on Sunday – Kristian Blummenfelt will be a major player at the full distance for years to come.
The fact the brilliant Norwegian also posted the fastest time ever for a race at the Ironman distance comes with something of an asterisk thanks to a blistering swim which was helped by a strong current in the waters off Mexico.
Hopes had been high pre-race that Blummenfelt would produce something special on the back of his team-mate Gustav Iden’s stunning effort at IRONMAN Florida earlier this month.
The 27-year-old Olympic and World Champion did not disappoint, coming home in a time of 7:21:12. That was faster than the 7:27:53 posted by Jan Frodeno in his Tri Battle Royal vs Lionel Sanders in July. The next best time after that was the 7:35:39 Frodeno himself had set at Challenge Roth in 2016.
But whatever the veracity of the time, the 27-year-old from Bergen announced his arrival on the full-distance in exactly the manner expected by so many. What a way to make your debut.
Swim – gone with the wind
The waters off Cozumel are well known for providing a little assistance for the triathletes as they set out on the first leg of this race. Never more so than Sunday.
The current helped the leaders arrive at T1 in times of c. 39 minutes – almost 20 minutes faster for example than the choppy waters for IRONMAN Florida would allow.
Blummenfelt was right up there in second, just behind Germany’s Paul Schuster who exited the water first in 39:39. Swede Patrik Nilsson – expected to provide the sternest opposition to Big Blu – was sixth and just a few seconds further back.
Bike – Blummenfelt blast
If the swim conditions had aided Blummenfelt significantly in his timings, the bike leg he produced to follow it carried few question marks on a slick and wet course.
As expected, he and Nilsson soon set about taking control at the head of affairs and they surged clear in tandem. It appeared the race was very much on, until the Swede lost significant time to his Scandinavian rival during the latter stages of the bike leg.
When Blummenfelt arrived in T2 he was eight minutes clear of Nilsson and the Swede then lost further time in transition before being forced to pull out 5km into the run.
Blummenfelt’s bike split by the way stopped the clock at 4:02:40.
Run – no doubting Kristian
As Kristian headed out onto the run course the race was – barring a blow-up of spectacular proportions – already put to bed. The only question now was how fast he could/would go. Iden remember had clocked a spectacular 2:34:51 marathon in Panama City Beach.
With the air temperature at 27 degrees and with 81 percent humidity adding to the challenge, the elements would now be Blummenfelt’s main opposition and he overcame them with flying colours.
The heat preparation the Norwegian team specialises in ahead of taking on new challenges clearly paid dividends again here as Blummenfelt gradually surged further clear of the chasing pack.
By the halfway stage he was just under 12 minutes clear of Poland’s Robert Wilkowiecki in second place. Now it was a question of whether he would better that Frodeno time.
The answer was provided in the affirmative as Blummenfelt broke the tape in an astonishing 7:21:12. His marathon time to close the show was 2:35:24.
IRONMAN Cozumel Results 2021
Sunday November21, 2021 – Cozumel, Mexico
2.4m swim, 112m bike, 26.2m run
- Kristian Blummenfelt (NOR) 7:21:12
- Ruedi Wild (SUI) 7:36:35
- Paul Schuster (GER) 7:41:32
- Robert Wilkowiecki (POL) 7:42:02
- Andre Lopes (BRA) 7:43:31