Starting with the kind of drama triathlon fans live for, Jan Fredeno and Sebastian Kienle were neck and neck at the start of the run. Genuinely next to each other, you’d be forgiven for thinking they were running buddies as they chatted and joked, seemingly relaxed.
Relaxation was the farthest thing from these mens’ minds though as they charged through the first 5 km in sub 6 minute mile pace. By the 8th mile, the pair were a whole 2 minutes ahead of the rest.
Fans were eager to see the two fight it out till the end, but it wasn’t to be, with Fredeno eventually breaking away. By the 16 mile mark, Fredeno had a 2:34 lead over Kienle, 6:03 over Hoffman and 6:32 over Boecherer.
Sadly Tim Don was forced to stop the race after terrible cramps ended his race. After an impressive 15th place finish last year, it was a significant blow for the English athlete.
German Andreas Raelart, known for his solid running, being one of the fastest runners in 2014, was a top pick for a fast run leg. Unfortunately though, Ironman reported he was forced to pull out at the five mile turn around.
It seemed the front pack was solid, when suddenly German Patrick Lange began a surge forward, overtaking twelve men. Not only was this impressive for Kona, it was doubly impressive as Lange had been forced to take time in the penalty tent at the start of the bike leg. Yet here he was surging forward! He blazed ahead, racing past Hoffman to make his way into third place.
As the final decline loomed, Frodeno looked strong and strided confidently to the finish to claim his second world title at Kona with 8:06:30. Sebastian Kienle finished strong in second with 8:10:02, making the podium 2/3rd German.
The question was who would come third? Surely Patrick Lang, who’d never completed a full Ironman distance in competition couldn’t claim it? But he continued surging forward, claiming the title for the fastest time ever in the Kona men’s marathon leg. Lang ran a remarkable race, coming off the bike in 23rd to claim third place with 8:11:14. Truly blown away with his amazing result, Lang captured the hearts of those at the finish line, humbly repeating “I can’t believe it” as the top three made their way for a finish line photo.
With an all-German podium, Kona 2016 was over for another year. Frodeno defended his title, and Kienle competed an impressive race. It was Lang though, who blew away the field for a truly remarkable finish.