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Home / News / Will Iden and Blummenfelt be heading back to Hawaii next year?

Will Iden and Blummenfelt be heading back to Hawaii next year?

Blummenfelt and Iden stressed their focus would switch to Paris 2024 after Kona debuts, but their recent Kona results might have changed that

Gustav Iden of Norway hugs Kristian Blummenfelt of Norway after finishing first and third during the IRONMAN World Championships on October 08, 2022 in Kailua Kona, Hawaii.
Credit: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images for Ironman

Newly-crowned Ironman world champion Gustav Iden says he is highly unlikely to return to defend his crown in Hawaii next year, but training partner Kristian Blummenfelt could still be tempted.

“It doesn’t really fit my plan that well,” said Iden. “The [World Triathlon] Grand Final is three weeks before Kona and three weeks of preparation is maybe a bit optimistic, even for us.

“My main goal now is Paris 2024. Kristian won his Olympic gold and I really, really, really want mine, so I don’t see it being in the plan, but we’re full of surprises.”

“It’s three weeks between and I think it’s do-able. I have to remind Gustav, I have a ring here – and I want one from Kona too.”

Carried away on a stretcher

Having clinched the Olympic title in Tokyo last year and won 2021’s delayed Ironman World Championship in St George in May, Blummenfelt came into Saturday’s race as many people’s favourite.

But despite finishing in 7:43:22 with a 2:39:20 marathon, the 28-year-old had to settle for third behind Iden and France’s Sam Laidlow after a gruelling contest that left him carried away on a stretcher.

Despite both racing on the Big Island for the first time, Blummenfelt and Iden had trained extensively on the course in the build-up, with two of their sessions almost extending to full race simulations.

But when it came to the marathon and chasing down longtime leader Laidlow, he admitted he was just slightly off the pace, as Iden pulled away on the uphill section from the natural energy lab with just under 10 miles remaining.

Gustav Iden and Kristian Blummenfelt on the marathon of the 2022 Ironman World Championships. (Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images for Ironman)

“I was running quite fast from the beginning and every time he [Iden] forced me to the front, I decided to slow it down a bit.

“I thought my only chance was to play my cards really well. It didn’t work but happy to be on the podium. Overall, we were expecting a time close to 7:40 and we were in the neghbourhood of that. I was just off a bit in the last 20km and Gustav was able to accelerate.”

The 70.3 edge

While the duo may not be back in Hawaii next year to defend their podium spots, they will face off again in three weeks’ time in the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in St George, where Blummenfelt thinks he might have an edge.

“That’s the focus now. When he has won a big race before he [Iden] tends to be a bit lazy in the training for the next few weeks, and I’m more hungry and fired up for the next one.

“Hopefully I can use that for motivation in my training. Now I’m just tired, smashed. It was a brutal run – the whole run was tough, but I’ll use it as motivation going into St George.”

Top image credit: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images for Ironman

Profile image of Tim Heming Tim Heming Freelance triathlon journalist


Experienced sportswriter and journalist, Tim is a specialist in endurance sport and has been filing features for 220 for a decade. Since 2014 he has also written a monthly column tackling the divisive issues in swim, bike and run from doping to governance, Olympic selection to pro prize money and more. Over this time he has interviewed hundreds of paratriathletes and triathletes from those starting out in the sport with inspiring tales to share to multiple Olympic gold medal winners explaining how they achieved their success. As well as contributing to 220, Tim has written on triathlon for publications throughout the world, including The Times, The Telegraph and the tabloid press in the UK.