Hawaiian Ironman’s impossible mark smashed
GERMAN star Patrick Lange has made Hawaiian Ironman history, becoming the first triathlete to break the eight-hour barrier at the world championship.
Australian Cameron Wurf also took advantage of probably the best conditions in the event's 40-year history to break his own bike course record at Kona.
Wurf led at the start of the run but dropped out of contention as Lange successfully defended his title and smashed his own record time in the process.
Lange won the 3.8km swim, 180km cycle and 42.2km run event in 7hrs 52min 39sec - crushing the 8:01:40 course record he set a year ago.
He was in high spirits at the finish and proposed to his girlfriend, who accepted, soon after his comprehensive win.
Wurf, a former pro cyclist, clocked 4:09:06 for the bike leg to break his 4:12 from 12 months ago.
After fading to 19th last year, Wurf worked hard on his running and he was in the top 10 with 10km left.
The Hawaiian Ironman is notorious for its brutal winds and tropical heat but Belgian Bart Aernouts also finished in under eight hours for second place with 7:56:41.
Lange was two minutes slower this year on the run but set up the title with a swim-bike that was nine minutes faster than his combination last year.
Australian Josh Amberger led the race after the swim for the second year in a row and was third off the bike but he dropped out of the top 10 early on the run.
In the women's race, Australian Sarah Crowley was holding fifth place on the run with compatriot and three-time champion Mirinda Carfrae in sixth.
Carfrae had last year off for the birth of her first child Isabelle. Great Britain's Lucy Charles broke the swim record for the women before three-time defending champion Daniela Ryf took the race by the scruff of the neck.
After having a slow swim - apparently because of jellyfish stings - Ryf clocked an astonishing bike split of 4:26:07 and took the lead from Charles in the process.
Ryf broke the women's bike record at Kona by a 18 minutes.
Crowley was among six women who went under the previous best mark on the bike. Ryf had a seven-minute lead over Charles late in the run leg.