Gustav Iden knew he was ready to defend his Ironman 70.3 world title when on the final 5km of one of his longest training sets, he ran faster than he had in the Olympics. “It was a bit annoying that my great shape came after the Olympics,” he explained about that moment. “But it’s better to be in great shape once than not at all!”
Following 70.3 success in Nice in 2019, victory at the inaugural PTO Championships last year, and setting a time at the Collins Cup only a few seconds shy of Jan Frodeno this past August, the Norwegian is very much the current king of the middle distance. The PTO rankings also reflect his dominance—with the win in Utah taking him above Frodeno to top spot for the first time.
“I’m happy to be the PTO #1 and will try to defend it from now until the end of the year and claim my $100,000,” he said. “My plan is to do the full distance in California. I think Jan is also racing, so hopefully he won’t get too many points to overtake me.”
The Showdown in Utah
Iden’s other great rival is, of course, teammate Kristian Blummenfelt, and while it was Big Blu who stole the show in Tokyo, the chance of a head-to-head between the two in Utah was dashed when the Olympic champion had an equipment failure on the bike.
Iden, though, believes he had the edge over his training partner. “Kristian really thought he’d have the victory, but that distance is kind of special for me, and even without his mechanical issue, I think I still would have won.”