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Home / News / Up close with triathlon legend Pauli Kiuru

Up close with triathlon legend Pauli Kiuru

In many ways Pauli Kiuru, with his adventurous spirit, strong personality and inquisitive mind, is the archetypal triathlete

A driven individual, his three life goals – to attain his Masters degree, become a member of parliament by the time he was 50 and finish top three at the World Ironman Championship in Kona – have been ticked off with aplomb.

Yet what sets Kiuru apart is an upbringing without the advantages of the majority of elite protagonists of swim, bike and run fame.

Far from a traditional multisport background, the foundations for the Finn’s success were not laid on a childhood of 6am pool swims but instead inhospitable Nordic winters and a background in express-paced speed skating.

As the latest star to take the spotlight in the Thanyapura Legends of Triathlon podcast, Kiuru reveals how he overcame this adversity to carve out a professional career that would lead him to seven Ironman wins and three podium finishes on the big stage in Hawaii.

Kiuru, who turned 50 last year, was a breakthrough star for European – and particularly Scandinavian – triathletes at the time in the early Nineties when the sport was dominated by Americans.

It’s even more impressive when revealed the Finn did not even turn to triathlon until he was 21; inspired by television coverage of the famous 1982 race in Hawaii where Julie Moss would crawl to the finish.

Yet, from his first race he would be challenging at the front and leaves a legacy that would surely be even more decorated had his career not coincided with the halcyon years of six-time Hawaii winner Mark Allen, who he led but would not defeat on the Big Island.

In the latest episode of the monthly podcast, Kiuru gives an insight to some of his greatest moments and explains how his unshakable devotion to training and racing by heart-rate left him injury-free for the best part of a decade.

On the turbo or on a training run, download and listen to the full Thanyapura Legends of Triathlon interview by visitingwww.legendsoftriathlon.com or download the podcast via iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/nz/podcast/imtalks-legends-of-triathon/id484630310

Victories fade, legends don’t. The Thanyapura Legends of Triathlon is a monthly podcast brought to triathlon fans by John Newsom and Bevan James Eyles. Legends already interviewed include Mark Allen, Greg Welch, Mike Pigg, Scott Tinley, Erin Baker, Karen Smyers, Scott Molina, Simon Whitfield and Spencer Smith.

Profile image of Matt Baird Matt Baird Editor of Cycling Plus magazine


Matt is a regular contributor to 220 Triathlon, having joined the magazine in 2008. He’s raced everything from super-sprint to Ironman, duathlons and off-road triathlons, and can regularly be seen on the roads and trails around Bristol. Matt is the author of Triathlon! from Aurum Press and is now the editor of Cycling Plus magazine.