Just when you think you're tough enough


Marino Vanhoenacker and Mirinda Carfrae breaks records at Ironman Austria

Mirinda Carfrae made a new half marathon record en route to winning the Ironman Austria. (Getty Images)
Mirinda Carfrae made a new marathon course record en route to winning the Ironman Austria. (Getty Images)

The 18th IRONMAN Austria started off slow but finished at a blistering pace on a high note. Both Marino Vanhoenacker (BEL) and Mirinda Carfrae (AUS) pedalled hard and fast to create huge gaps on the bike before running their heart out to win the Ironman Austria title in their categories.

Mere mortals wonder how Mirinda Carfrae could even put on her fastest running shoes for 21km in 1h:23m which lead to one of the fastest marathons in IRONMAN history and setting a new course record. And this comes after swimming 3.8km and cycling 180km, salute!

History in the making

The men’s swim in the Lake Woerthersee was remarkably 6 minutes slower compared to previous years. Brazil’s Thiago Vinhal was the first pro athlete to exit the water in 52:34, but this didn’t really bother Vanhoenacker. The seven-time champion was in third place after the swim, four seconds behind the lead and seemed to be pretty relaxed but fully focused on his main goal: his eighth win here.

Men’s podium at Ironman Austria (Twitter)

When Vanhoenacker started the bike ride, he looked and felt super comfortable—thanks to some extraordinary weeks of training. Vanhoenacker, Antony Costes (FRA) and the Austrian IRONMAN rookie Paul Reitmayr put two minutes only on the first 20 kilometers on the breakaway group.

Vanhoenacker executed a solid game plan—he didn’t over-pace and he waited just the right amount of time before he made his move with 30 kilometers to go on the bike.

On the final section of the course he was able to drop Costes and Reitmayr by four minutes. Vanhoenacker knew that he might feel the effect of the fastest bike ride of the day later in the run and suffer, but he didn’t show a single vulnerable point.

Weiss attacked hard to get into second place after 16 kilometers, but he wasn’t able to make any time on Vanhoenacker. Zyemtsev passed Weiss with 17 kilometers to go and shortly before the finish, Degasperi did so too. But no one had a chance to touch Vanhoenacker on his way into the history books with a 8:04:18 finish.

Podium girls at Ironman Austria. (Twitter)
Podium girls at Ironman Austria. (Twitter)

The history continues 

Even Carfrae didn’t seem to have the best chance to pull off an extraordinary race after exiting Lake Woerthersee at 59:15, but the Australian needed only a few kilometers on the bike to take over the lead.

After 20 kilometers she was in front and started hammering through the course. It may have surprised spectators that Carfrae had the best bike split and secured this impressive win with a great cycling race, but this was exactly the performance she needed to put herself back on track again after dropping out at the IRONMAN World Championship last October as the defending champion.

After 120 kilometers the strong Austrian Michaela Herlbauer was only three minutes behind and seemed to be strong enough to downsize the gap further, but just the opposite happened.

Carfrae had put together a comfortable six minute lead when she started on the run. Thanks to her great bike split the course record of 8:42:42 by Linsey Corbin seemed not too far-off for the 35-year-old. Carfrae had to run a 2:50:31 and she delivered with style.

Carfrae nailed a 1:23 half marathon which was the door-opener to one of the fastest marathons in IRONMAN history and to set a new course record in front of a crazy audience.

“I didn’t think that this would be possible today,” said Carfrae. Runner-up Herlbauer stormed under the 9-hour-line while Elisabeth Gruber celebrated a third place finish.

Top 5 Pro Men

1 Vanhoenacker, Marino BEL 0:52:38 4:19:56 2:47:13 8:04:18
2 Zyemtsev, Viktor UKR 0:52:49 4:32:36 2:39:57 8:09:54
3 Degasperi, Alessandro ITA 0:52:39 4:32:39 2:42:58 8:13:53
4 Weiss, Michael AUT 0:56:16 4:21:04 2:51:57 8:14:45
5 Plese, David SVN 0:55:46 4:27:16 2:47:38 8:15:10

Top 5 Pro Women

1 Carfrae, Mirinda AUS 0:59:15 4:47:38 2:49:06 8:41:17
2 Herlbauer, Michaela AUT 0:59:14 4:53:47 2:59:22 8:57:23
3 Gruber, Elisabeth AUT 1:06:31 5:03:23 3:01:57 9:17:20
4 Ferreira, Amber USA 1:01:39 4:59:05 3:26:28 9:34:51
5 Rudolf, Michaela AUT 1:08:41 5:05:40 3:23:43 9:43:59

Read more on Ironman.com