Mark Allen says Gustav Iden is not the future of long-distance triathlon, he’s the present.
The six-times IRONMAN World Champion was blown away, like many experts, by Iden’s debut attempt at full-distance racing in Florida last weekend.
The Norwegian lived up to the pre-race hype with a dominant performance to win in a time of 7:42:57, closing the show with an astonishing 2:34:51 marathon.
Allen, speaking in a video update on his YouTube channel, heaped lavish praise on the 25-year-old Bergen superstar.
Mark Allen on Iden win
“Last weekend was one of those weekends when something happened that makes your eyes pop out and your jaw drop. Not in disbelief but in amazement,” he said.
“Gustav Iden did the first Ironman of his career. He won it, he’s been winning a lot of races recently, but he won it in a time of 7 hours 42 minutes. His first Ironman ever. And get this, the swim was horrendous, it was rough, it was wind blowing against the current. Gustav Iden’s swim split was 58 minutes, normally it’s gonna be 47-48 minutes.
“So if you take that time, deduct it off of what he did, his realistic time was probably somewhere around a 7:32. The best time ever for an Ironman-distance race was set by Jan Frodeno earlier this year, Tri Battle Royale with Lionel Sanders, he went 7:28.
“Gustav Iden in his first Ironman ever, was within three or four minutes of Jan Frodeno’s best time ever. Is that amazing or what?”
Adding context to Gustav
Allen attempted to put some context on what Iden achieved last Saturday in his first race at the full distance.
“That would be like somebody who is just a straight runner, a pure runner – they’ve run 5Ks, 10Ks, they’ve run half marathons but they’ve never run a full marathon. And right out of the blocks, first marathon they run, they run a 2:02, that would be the equivalent of what Gustav Iden did at IRONMAN Florida. His run split 2:34:51 or something like that – completely amazing.”
Given Iden’s relative youth, many people look at the future and what he might be able to achieve. Allen says there is no need, the future is already here.
“People are saying he’s the future of the sport, there’s nothing going on in the future, he’s the present right now, he’s amazing, an incredible athlete and one of those performances that just raises eyebrows.
“Lionel Sanders wasn’t even gonna be there, and then he heard Gustav was gonna be debuting his Ironman in Florida and Lionel says: ‘I have to see this up front, up close, right next to him, first-hand, to get a feel for what Gustav can do in an Ironman’.”