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Patrick Lange’s breakthrough performance in the 2016 edition of Kona was arguably the biggest story from the sport’s biggest race. The German may have finished in third, but his marathon was the best ever recorded. He broke Mark Allen’s 27-year-old run course record of 2:40:04 with a 2:39:45—at his first Ironman World Championship, no less. While his coach, 2005 Kona champ Faris Al-Sultan, used to joke that Lange didn’t have what it takes to win a big race, now both the coach and the 30-year-old rising star from just south of Frankfurt have their eyes set on the crown jewels of triathlon. Editor’s note: This PROfile was originally published in the March/April issue of Triathlete magazine. Lange has since announced he will compete in July’s Ironman European Championships in Frankfurt.
“I’ve had a couple of coaches in triathlon so far. All of them told me that I was so talented and had what it takes to win big races. Then Faris came along, and he was the first to say that I couldn’t! I don’t know what that did to me, but I think it was the first step in the right direction. Neither one of us expected to win Ironman Texas or finish on the podium in Kona—it was definitely a surprise season for both of us.”
“I knew I was moving fast, but I had no idea that I was on record pace during the marathon in Kona. I was more or less just listening to my body and motivating myself by just moving past all of the big names that were ahead of me. Once I turned back onto the Queen K after exiting the Energy Lab, that’s when I really started to push and started to think about getting on the podium and getting that lei around my neck.”
“I was just happy to be in Kona and to have an opportunity to compete with the world’s best. So after I got the [blocking] penalty on the bike, it was mentally challenging for sure, but I didn’t want to give away the race because of it. It’s a world championship—if you have even one little moment where you’re not 100 percent focused, you can throw it all away.”
“So far I have only one race locked into my schedule for 2017. We’re still in talks with the big Ironman races to see which one I will do. I will definitely only do one full Ironman before Kona, but I can’t say for sure which one. I will race at the Tri Yas in Abu Dhabi in February. It’s an Olympic-distance race on the Formula 1 track, which is very unique. So I will go back to Abu Dhabi to do a training camp with Faris and then do one little race at the end of it. Then we’ll figure out the rest of the season from there.”
“It would be fun to go back to race [Ironman] Texas with the number 1 on my race belt. But on the other hand, Frankfurt is very close and I have a lot of locals here who would like to see me do my hometown race. I really like The Woodlands, Texas. That’s where I prepared for Kona last year—so I’m really torn between those two races.”
The Woodlands, Texas
Just simply fries from McDonald’s. I’ve been a vegetarian for the last six years. I might’ve said KFC before.
“Heute-show.” It’s a German late-night political satire.
Sport other than triathlon:
Mountain biking. I have a mountain biking background, so I still love to ride my mountain bike.
Race other than Kona:
It has to be the HeidelbergMan (in Southwest Germany). It’s Olympic distance, which I don’t normally like, but there are so many meters of climbing on the bike and run—it’s a really crazy race.