Patrick Lange's record-setting victory in Hawaii marked the fifth year in a row that a German has won the competition. Austria's Daniela Ryf overcame a jellyfish attack to claim her fourth Ironman Championship in a row.
Patrick Lange won the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii on Saturday and became the first athlete to break the 8-hour mark in the grueling event.
The Ironman World Championship is a monumental test of endurance that comprises 3.86km (2.4 miles) of swimming, 180.25km (112 miles) of cycling and a marathon-length 42.2km (26.2 miles) of running.
Lange's win, his second World Championship in a row, is the fifth in a row for Germany.
The 32-year-old finished with a record-breaking 7 hours, 52 minutes and 39 seconds, beating his 2017 time by nine minutes. Belgian Bart Aernouts came in second with a time 7:56:41 and Britain's David McNamee got the bronze, finishing in 8:01:09.
At first, Lange was behind in the swimming event, but managed to come back in the cycling and running sections to win it all.
"I didn't have my best swimming, as you could see, but afterwards it went incredibly well," he said.
"Thank you for the energy out there, thank you Germany," Lange said on German broadcaster ZDF, adding that his achievement was "unbelievable."
Lange celebrated the win with an emotionally personal moment, getting down on one knee to propose to his girlfriend, who was taken by surprise and responded with a nodding yes.
Daniela Ryf smashes record
In the women's event, Austria's Daniela Ryf captured her fourth Ironman World Championship in a row and also set a race record, finishing with a time of 8:26:16. She was behind in the swimming competition, hindered by a jellyfish attack.
"This was the hardest swim I ever hard," Ryf said. But the Austrian overtook Lucy Charles of England with a strong performance in the cycling event, where she broke the record in that section by 18 minutes.
Charles came in second overall with a time for 8:36:34 and Germany's Anne Haug captured the bronze in 8:41:58, giving Germany its first female medal in the event in over 10 years.
The 35-year-old from Bayreuth, Bavaria had competed in two Olympics as a triathlete, but was relatively new to the longer distances of events such as the Ironman.
jcg/aw (dpa, AFP)