For access to all of our training, gear, and race coverage, plus exclusive training plans, FinisherPix photos, event discounts, and GPS apps, sign up for Outside+.
With no actual Ironman World Championship taking place in 2020, we decided to have some fun during what was supposed to be race week on the Big Island. We pitted the race’s legends against each other to crown a King and Queen. We narrowed it down to the final eight men and eight women, and then you voted through three rounds. Now we’re excited to announce the winners. The final round was by far the closest of all, but ultimately Chrissie Wellington and Mark Allen were named the winners. If you don’t know these legends, learn a little bit about them below. If you’re still missing the Kona action, be sure to check out our Ironman World Championship collection here.
About Chrissie Wellington
Four-time Ironman world champion
Iron-distance record holder (8:18:13)
Undefeated at the iron distance
With a broken rib, shredded skin and a torn pectoral muscle, Chrissie Wellington gutted out the 2011 Ironman World Championship over another all-timer, Mirinda Carfrae, and broke the course record in the process. Even before that race, the last of her career, Wellington was viewed as nearly unstoppable—for a few years, she was the most feared competitor on any race course, with a potential that seemed unlimited. The Brit had never been beaten at her distance of choice: She was 12 for 12 in iron-distance races. But a crash while training just two weeks from Kona put her invincibility for this one race in doubt. When Wellington got off the bike 19 minutes from the lead in Kona 2011, no one expected her to maintain a spotless record. But she did just that, slamming her way through the course with a cock-eyed grimace on her face instead of her characteristic broad smile. After crossing the tape next to the Kona Pier, Wellington finally gave in to the pain and allowed herself to crumble into the arms of her boyfriend. She had gone deeper into the well than ever before in her life. It wasn’t a perfect race, she said afterward, but it was her proudest because of the obstacles she overcame to win. Wellington never raced again.
About Mark Allen
Six-time Ironman world champion
Despite early disappointments on the Big Island, “The Grip” snapped a series of runner-up finishes to Scott (’86, ’87), and he pulled away to win the Iron War in 1989. Allen won the next five times he raced the Hawaiian Ironman, for six total victories in Kona (’89, ’90, ’91, ’92, ’93, ’95). Early in his Ironman career, he finished third (’83), and completed his legendary career with 11 top 10 finishes in Kona.