As a triathlete myself, I truly enjoyed the research for this article. I watched many of those performances, and I am really curious to know who will beat those next. It is fascinating to me that one of the records is still holding after more than 10 years!
Please note that there are currently no official world records in triathlon, so I will use the terms “fastest time” or simply “record”.
FASTEST IRONMAN TIME – MEN
|1.||7:21:12||Kristian Blummenfelt||2021||IM Cozumel|
|2.||7:36:35||Ruedi Wild||2021||IM Cozumel|
|3.||7:39:25||Matt Hanson||2018||IM Texas|
The end of 2021 was really exciting for long-distance triathlons. Within 2 weeks, the two short-course Norwegian stars Gustav Iden and Kristian Blummenfelt (who is “only” the Olympic gold medalist), were expected to make their triathlon debut on the Ironman distance. To say the least, they didn’t disappoint us:
Gustav Iden won IM Florida with a 7:42:57, and Kristian Blummenfelt set the fastest Ironman time ever recorded, a 7:21:12 in Cozumel. To put that performance into perspective, here are his splits:
- 39:41 swim (1:03 min/100m) down-current swim
- 4:02:40 bike (27.7 mph or 44.5 km/h)
- 2:35:24 run (5:56 min/mi or 3:41 min/km)
He goes through this particular day on the Youtube video below. I can’t recommend it enough:
If we also look outside the Ironman branded events, Jan Frodeno would hold the second-fastest time with 7:27:53. It was recorded at the mediatized Tri Battle, where they organized a 1-1 race against Lionel Sanders in Ällgau, Germany. Here are his splits:
- 45:58 swim (1:13 min/100m)
- 3:55:22 bike (28.6 mph or 45.9 km/h)
- 2:44:21 run (6:16 min/mi or 3:54 min/km)
I’m curious if the event will occur again in the future. Jan’s team made everything they could to make it as fast as possible (while remaining legit). They had an underwater line to guide them, a flat bike course with no sharp turn, and a flat run course. Only the weather was frankly quite horrible. Here is a condensed version of the event:
FASTEST IRONMAN TIME – WOMEN
|1.||8:22:41||Sara Svensk||2021||IM Cozumel|
|2.||8:26:18||Daniela Ryf||2018||IM Kona|
|3.||8:31:05||Mel Hauschildt||2018||IM Texas|
The outstanding performance of Sara Svensk in Cozumel (8:22:41 with a 47:01 swim, 4:33:10 bike, and 2:58:02 run) received fewer media coverage than her homolog Kristian Blummenfelt.
The main reason is that while she is the fastest triathlete on an Ironman course, Chrissie Wellington still has the “world record” on the distance. In 2011, she finished Challenge Roth with a time of 8:18:13.
Looking at her splits, she had a blazing fast run performance:
- 49:49 swim (1:19 min/100m)
- 4:40:39 bike (23.9 mph or 38.5 km/h)
- 2:44:35 run (6:17 min/mi or 3:54 min/km)
Here is her reaction right after her world record:
FASTEST SWIM TIME DURING AN IRONMAN
It is incredibly difficult to compare Ironman swim times. When I analyzed the average swim time per age group (link to my article), I needed to consider whether or not the wetsuits were allowed and also which type of course it was (river, lake, ocean).
I could make a ranking for each of those categories, but frankly speaking, most triathletes are only interested in the fastest one. So here you go:
The fastest Ironman swim time for both men and women was recorded at Ironman Chattanooga in 2014 with a down-current swim. For the men, Barrett Brandon needed 38:06, which translates to a pace of 1 min/100m. On the women’s field, Anna Cleaver needed 39:56 (1:03/100m).
FASTEST BIKE TIME DURING AN IRONMAN
Andrew Starykowicz holds the fastest Ironman time on the bike with a time of 3:54:59 (28.6 mph or 46 km/h) and Jen Annett with a time of 4:25:10 (25.3 mph or 40.7 km/h) in Ironman Texas 2018.
It is worth mentioning that the bike course was slightly shortened (roughly 2 miles), so the average should be slightly lower. However, Ironman still considered the course to conform enough to recognize the fastest times.
FASTEST RUN TIME DURING AN IRONMAN
On the men’s field, the fastest Ironman run time is held by Matt Hanson with a time of 2:34:39 (5:54 min/mi or 3:40 min/km) in Ironman Texas in 2018.
On the women’s field, the fastest Ironman run time is held by Kristin Moeller with a time of 2:41:57 (6:11 min/mi or 3:50 min/km) in Ironman UK in 2011.
I can’t wait to see how the next Ironman races will unfold.
If you are interested in learning more about the times from the amateur triathletes, have a look at this article: Average Ironman Time Per Age Group And Gender
For references, those records can be found on:
All other records can be found on the website obstri.com