Gustav Iden: ‘Now we have won everything!’

The newly-crowned Ironman world champion says that his record-breaking victory in Hawaii has completed the triathlon set for Norway

Gustav Iden of Norway pours water on his head after winning the IRONMAN World Championship

Gustav Iden demolished the Ironman World Championship course record to win on debut in Kona and says it means that he and training partner Kristian Blummenfelt have won pretty much everything there is to win in the sport.

Advertisement

Iden now holds both the Ironman and Ironman 70.3 crowns – he will defend the latter in St George in three weeks time – and was quick to point out that the pair have just about swept the board when it comes to what’s possible.

“Kristian is the Olympic champion and reigning ITU [World Triathlon] world champion, set the fastest ever time, and the two of us have every title now except the ITU long distance.

“We also have the PTO No 1 position, the Challenge Championship and Collins Cup wins. We have everything and to be part of this group is extremely special. I’m proud of how we’re working.”

The confident Norwegian wasn’t surprised that it took both a course record 7:40:24 and marathon record 2:36:15 to take the tape ahead of a gutsy Sam Laidlow, who held on at the front into the last four miles.

“I thought 7:45 would be the minimum to win,” he added.

I told Laidlow I was proud of him. I know he’s working hard and he comes off as a bit of a d*** sometimes, but he’s so nice and so real and he loves the sport more than I do

While the pass may have come later than expected, the race went by almost without a hitch for the 26-year-old from Bergen.

Gustav Iden en route to victory at the 2022 Ironman World Championship. (Credit: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images for Ironman)

“I swam quite hard but realised quite early that it was a front pack swim and no-one was going to pull away,” he explained

“At the start you always swim you’re always a bit stressed as it’s hard to know which feet to follow.

“But I managed to relax and in the end was super relaxed. I swam extremely easy for the last kilometre and thought it would set me up for a good race.

“On the bike it was also easy at the start and then the pace was building up a bit. I heard a lot of the guys were getting penalties so I was trying to be smart with my position.

“Coming off the bike I was feeling good, but running with Kristian, you’re always a bit – not afraid – but you know it’s going to be a tough one.

Gustav Iden clocked a record 2:36:15 marathon at the 2022 Ironman World Championship. (Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images for Ironman)

“Kristian didn’t want to run fast at the front. I guess he was really tired but I thought at the time he was maybe just playing mind games.

“My ambition was always to be slightly conservative until after the uphill climb in the energy lab and then just smash it. That’s what I did!”

There was also a respectful exchange as he passed Laidlow just after the 22-mile mark, with the pair exchanging brief handshakes.

“I told him I was proud of him. And honestly, I’m super proud of him,” Iden said. “I know he’s working hard and he comes off as a bit of a d*** sometimes, but he’s so nice and so real and he loves the sport more than I do. I do tri because I think it’s fun. He just loves triathlon.”

Gustav Iden takes to the tape to hand Norway its first Ironman world title with a course record 7:40:24. (Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images for Ironman)

It also meant it’s now 10 wins from 10 starts while wearing his lucky hat bearing the name of a Taiwanese temple. Iden found the hat at the side of the road while in Japan and wore it for his first Ironman 70.3 win in Nice in 2019.

“It’s actually a bit insane,” he added. “At the start I was just having a bit of fun with it, but I’ve actually never lost wearing it and I want to maintain that as long as possible. It does play slightly on my mind.”

Iden may have to do without its powers in the near future though. As the Norwegians’ focus for 2023 switches back to the Olympic distance and they look to secure the qualification points for Paris 2024, he doesn’t think he’ll be allowed to wear the cap due to the strict rules.

Advertisement

Top image credit: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images for Ironman