Triathlon

Alistair Brownlee aims for epic Ironman-length triathlon record after completing Olympic goal at Tokyo

Double Olympic champion triathlete Alistair Brownlee inspired by Kipchoge as he aims to break the world record time set by German Jan Frodeno.

By Ed Knowles ·

Double Olympic triathlon champion Alistair Brownlee loves a challenge, and achieves goals most people would dismiss as impossible.

Nothing should be surprising.

Brownlee believes he is capable of qualifying and competing at the Tokyo 2020 Games in 2021 for Great Britain. And then, in the first half of 2022, breaking the record for the fastest time in an Ironman-length triathlon.

“What makes it so hard is that there are so many moving parts to an Ironman, even when compared to an Olympic distance triathlon [1500m swim, 40km bike, and 10km run],” says Brownlee to the Guardian.

Alistair Brownlee: Targeting a new world record in Ironman-length triathlon

The Ironman distance is a breath-taking 2.4 mile (3.86 km) swim, 112-mile cycle (180.25 km), and 26.2 mile (42.20 km) run. The 2008 Olympic champion triathlete Jan Frodeno is the current owner of the fastest time – 7 hours and 35 minutes.

“You’ve got to fuel yourself correctly for seven hours, which is hard given we all get sick of gels. You have to get your fluids right. On the bike, things like aerodynamics and helmet position are so important because if you save yourself five watts or 10 watts, that’s a significant difference. And there is also that fear – have I gone five minutes too hard, and is that going to cost me?”

The idea is to utilise the latest technological developments to push the limits of human endeavour.

The Team GB star admits to being inspired by Eliud Kipchoge’s triumphant sub-two hour marathon.

“It would be impossible under normal conditions… But, like with the sub two-hour marathon, we are choosing the boundaries.”

A special wetsuit that normal competition rules don’t allow is expected to be utilised – alongside some other ideas.

“While on the bike, we will draft off pacers like in the Tour de France. As the bike is over 112 miles, that’s the obvious place to find the time.”

What does his double Olympic medallist brother, Jonathan Brownlee, think about this new scheme?

“He thinks it’s mental.”

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First off, Alistair will have to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Games in 2021.

He put in an impressive performance to finish second in November 2020 at a World Triathlon world cup event in Valencia.

He finished just three second behind world champion Frenchman Vincent Luis.

“I came the closest that anyone’s come to beating him last year. If I can race like that, obviously I’ll qualify easily and be in with a shot at Tokyo.”