Jan Frodeno Wins IRONMAN Title, Sets Record

October 12, 2019, 3:11 PM HST (Updated October 13, 2019, 7:29 AM)
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Germany’s Jan Frodeno didn’t get a chance to run in the 2018 IRONMAN World Championship, but he more than made up for that Saturday when he crossed the finish line on Ali‘i Drive with a faster time than any human being before him.

Jan Frodeno, of Germany, wins the 2019 VEGA IRONMAN World Championship in Kailua-Kona. Frodeno just broke the course record set last year by his countryman, Patrick Lange. He also became the fourth man in history to win three IRONMAN World Championships.

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Posted by BigIslandNow.com on Saturday, October 12, 2019

Jan Frodeno sets a world record at the 2019 VEGA IRONMAN World Championship in Kailua-Kona on Saturday, Oct. 12, 2019. He also won his third world championship title. Video by Max Dible

Frodeno clocked a time of 7:51:13, almost a minute and a half better than the former world record set last year by his fellow countryman, Patrick Lange.

After embracing his family at the finish line, Frodeno spoke to the voice of IRONMAN, Mike Reilly, about what it felt like to win his third world title.

“It’s the championship, it’s the Wimbledon of our sport,” he said. “It’s the greatest feeling in the world.”

As to his new world record, Frodeno was humble.

“Honestly, I don’t care about the record,” he said. “It’s fantastic, but we all know it was another great day … two years in a row.”

American Tim O’Donnell finished in second place with a time of 7:59:40. Prior to 2018, no man had ever broken an 8-hour IRONMAN.

At the VEGA IRONMAN World Championship Saturday, two men busted that barrier for the second consecutive year — and O’Donnell was one of them. It was a feat, O’Donnell explained, as he wasn’t even sure he’d be able to race Saturday.

“You know what, a couple weeks ago, I didn’t think I was going to be doing this race,” said O’Donnell, referencing a foot injury he sustained during training. “I’m so humbled and honored.”

O’Donnell faced disappointment at the 2018 World Championship, falling short of the podium after a difficult second half of the marathon.

Sebastian Kienle, of Germany, nabbed the last spot on the podium in a time of 8:02:04. American Ben Hoffman held onto fourth place with a time of 8:02:52, and Australian Cameron Wuff rounded out the top five in a time of 8:06:41.

Frodeno is now the fourth man, and first German triathlete, to win three IRONMAN World Championship titles.

Max Dible
Max Dible is a reporter for Big Island Now. He will also serve in a news capacity for Pacific Media Group's Hawai‘i Island family of radio stations. He formerly worked as a community reporter for West Hawai‘i Today in Kailua-Kona from 2016 to 2019. Before that, he was a sports editor, sports reporter and radio talk show personality with the Iowa State Daily and KURE 88.5 FM, respectively, in Ames, Iowa. He's won several regional and national journalism awards, at both the collegiate and professional levels, for breaking news, long-form feature writing and his work as a sports columnist.
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