In professional Ironman racing, sub-8 hours is the gold standard time for male triathletes. The Ironman World Championships in Kona attracts the world's best athletes, however, this 8-hour barrier has never been broken. So, why is it almost impossible to go sub-8 hours on this course?
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Before we begin, here is a little history of the Kona records! Both the 11-hour and 10-hour barriers were smashed in 1980 in one go by Dave Scott with a time of 9:24. Then Scott got close to going sub-9 just three years later with 9:05 and convincingly broke the barrier in 1984 with a fast time of 8:54.
The times continued to fall at a rapid rate over the next few years as a result of the Dave Scott & Mark Allen battle. So much so that by 1989 the record dropped to 8:09. It was then the turn of a new generation of athletes with Luc Van Lierd taking it down to 8:04 on his first attempt at the course in 1996. It then wasn’t until 2011 that we saw a new record by Craig Alexander clocking 8:03. This stood as the record until 2017 when Germany’s Patrick Lange lowered it to 8:01:40 in near perfect Kona conditions.
So, why is it almost impossible to go sub-8 hours in Kona?
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