Patrick Lange: Background, career highlights, quotes

German triathlete Patrick Lange has had extraordinary success in long-distance racing and he may yet add to it. For now, let's take a look at what he's achieved so far...

German triathlete Patrick Lange celebrates at the Ironman North America Championship

Germany’s Patrick Lange made an extraordinary impact in the mid-2010s when he powered to two successive Kona titles, both times posting new course records.

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And there’s still time to capture a third world crown – and possibly even wrestle the course record back from his compatriot Jan Frodeno.

Who is Patrick Lange?

Patrick Lange had a colourful life before taking up triathlon professionally. Having developed a winning mentality when racing go-karts in his youth, he spent two years in the military before training to become a physiotherapist alongside his early days in triathlon; the German was also national duathlon champion.

Having posted a series of largely anonymous results in ITU racing, Lange shifted to long-distance competition and has never looked back – despite often leaving the opposition behind.

He’s since become a two-time Ironman world champion, with both victories accompanied by new course records. The second triumph, in 2018, saw him become the first person to ever go under eight hours at Kona.

In possession of exemplary focus and motivation, Lange has conquered the Ironman world by stealth. “I like to be in the background,” he notes, “and just race as hard as I can against the best – and win against the best.” You certainly wouldn’t write off his chances of a Kona hat-trick any time soon.

How old is Patrick Lange?

He was born on 25 August 1986, making him 35 years of age.

Patrick Lange’s career highlights

Finishing ahead of Lionel Sanders and David McNamee on the podium, Lange secures his first Ironman World Championship (Credit: Sean M Haffey/Getty Images for Ironman)

October 2016: Lange contributes to German domination at Kona

Lange takes bronze at the Ironman worlds, but sets a new course record for the run, completing his marathon in 2:39:45, placing him on an all-German podium alongside Jan Frodeno and Sebastian Kienle. Indeed, five of the top seven are German.

October 2017: Lange becomes world champion – and the fastest ever

Twelve months later, Lange makes the top step of the Kona podium his own with an imperious performance, taking the world crown and, with a time of 8:01:40, shaving more than two minutes off Craig Alexander’s six-year-old course record.

October 2018: Another world title, another course record

Moments after winning the 2018 Ironman World Championship and breaking the course record, Lange proposes to his girlfriend, who says yes (Credit: Nils Nilsen/Getty Images for Ironman)

Building on his success of the previous year, Lange comfortably takes the Kona title, this time absolutely smashing his course record by nine minutes and thus becoming the first man to go under eight hours in Hawaii.

Four minutes later, silver medallist Bart Aernouts becomes the second to achieve the sub-eight milestone. Indeed, even third-placed Brit David McNamee finishes inside the previous course record. At the finish line, Lange makes it a double celebration when he proposes to his girlfriend.

May 2019: Record-breaker at half-distance too

Another course record tumbles to Lange, this time at Ironman 70.3 Asia Pacific in Vietnam. Here he defeats a strong field, one including Craig Alexander and Tim Don, thanks to a superb 1:15:55 run split.

September 2021: Lange tames Challenge Roth on his debut

Patrick Lange enjoys a beer after winning Challenge Roth 2021 (Credit: Alexander Koerner/Getty Images)

In his first attempt at that iconic homeland race Challenge Roth, Lange destroys the opposition, leading home his second-placed compatriot Nils Frommhold by more than 11 minutes.

Patrick Lange in quotes

On the pressure and expectation of holding that first Kona title: “I had to carry the burden of being world champion throughout the season. Sometimes, as world champion, you always have to win.”

On how he became the first Kona competitor to go sub-eight hours: “Running efficiently is a big part of it. We observed the Africans. They have a running style that is completely quiet. A normal amateur runner, on the other hand, slaps his feet on the ground. This wastes energy.”

On not seeking out the spotlight: “I like to be in the background and just race as hard as I can against the best – and win against the best.”

What’s next for Patrick Lange?

With two Ironman world championships in 2022, Lange has double the opportunity to secure that hat-trick of world titles, possibly again beating the Kona course record for a third time too.

However, a severe bike crash in February 2022 may well have put an end to any hopes of appearing at the first event in St George in Utah in May.

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Top image credit: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images for Ironman