When Christian Blumenfeldt threw up on the starting line of the IRONMAN World Championships last Saturday, the odds must have been high for something to happen soon.
Less than eight hours later, the Norwegian superstar will be the new long-distance running king of the triathlon, a surprising performance given the tough preparations he has endured.
Blummenfelt caught a bad cold after arriving at St George’s to start final preparations for the game. It was a disease that would prevent even his compatriot Gustav Iden from getting to the starting line.
While he did manage to prepare enough to at least believe he could be competitive, the final few minutes before the start did not bode well.
start weak swimming
The 28-year-old from Bergen told the Rich Roll Podcast on YouTube: “I was supposed to be swimming there when I was swimming, but I felt so weak.
“I was on the starting line and we had five minutes to warm up, and after two minutes I started throwing up because my throat was so bad and irritable. Swimming was weak and two minutes late.”
Blummenfelt now found himself in a no-man’s land on a brutal bike leg – unable to bridge to the five in front, but ahead of a group led by Cameron Wurf and Lionel Sanders. At some stage, Christian thought his chances of winning were gone.
final blow of glory
“I tried to catch up but lost time on the bike for the first 40/50km, from 2:30 to 3:30, then I had Cam Wurf behind me, about 40 seconds behind. So I thought ‘Okay, I’ll refocus on the guys in the back and get the last shot for the game’.
“It’s almost like I’m giving up, but I also try to think ‘it’s not over until it’s over’ – the typical triathlon mantra. Just focus on nutrition, get plenty of fluids and carbs for the last half Get ready for the marathon.”
Although the gap to the leader steadied at around 4.5 minutes closer to T2, Blummenfelt was still unsure how his run would be. His expectations were not high at this stage.
“I’m not sure what’s going to happen to my running leg because I feel smoky on my cycling leg, going up two big inclines,” he said.
“But I’m thinking, if I’m running at the limit, then at least try. At least run on the podium, because there’s no way these five guys can put a marathon together. I’m looking forward to some of them blowing up.
“So in the beginning I just ran for the podium – I think I ran the same pace as Braden Currie for the first 10k. I knew he could be a good runner and I was thinking maybe I really can’t catch up to him , but then I suddenly cut two minutes off of those four and a half minutes with half the marathon left.
the moment blu knew
“That was the moment when I thought I could actually start winning this game. I had the picture in my head of myself winning the game. Staying focused, making sure I was still properly nourishing and hydrating and getting as much as I could at the first aid station moisture to keep you cool.”
Blummenfelt coach Olav Aleksander Bu said he could not be sure how Kristian was going when he entered the game, which is the disease he is still recovering from. He doesn’t feel any real confidence until he sees his athletes leave T2 and get into the run.
“Christian looked sharp when I saw them get off the bike and start running, and then I was already convinced, well, Christian would take it home.”
Blummenfelt has now completed two triathlons, both times he battled the disease. In Cozumel for the first time last year, he overcame a stomach ailment to set the fastest time in history. This time, he beat his chances of becoming a world champion.
Now that he’s looking ahead to his title defense in Kona in October, he hopes to be better prepared.
“Hopefully lucky for the third time in Hawaii – that’s going to be my game!”