Norwegian triathlete Jon Breivold clinched his third consecutive Zalaris Norseman win on a day where Mother Nature decided to take the reins. The extreme weather conditions on the race's 20th anniversary made for an unforgettable day in the mountains, leading to the course being altered.
Challenges came in the form of the weather, as thunder and lightning made it impossible for participants to complete the traditional mountain top finish at Mount Gausta. Yet, for the defending champion Breivold, there was an additional challenge—Ironman champion Sebastian Kienle. Kienle was the first to emerge from the Hardanger fjord's waters. However, Breivold caught and surpassed him 120 km into the bike leg, maintaining his lead throughout.
Playfully responding to Kienle's pre-race jest of "Jon who?", Breivold cheekily remarked post-race, "Now, I hope the triathlon world remembers my name. It’s Jon Breivold, not ‘Jon Who’." Despite battling stomach issues, Breivold proclaimed, “I’m still the King of Norseman and Zombie Hill.”
Kienle, acknowledging the challenge, described the race as brutal but fun. Despite this being his last long-distance race in Europe, he was full of praise for the Norseman experience, the crew, and the supportive athletes. Expressing his admiration for Breivold's performance, Kienle declared himself a "Norseman ambassador."
Allan Hovda, a Norseman veteran, secured third place in the men's race, marking a commendable return to the podium after facing health challenges this year.
The women's race witnessed a thrilling competition. British athlete Flora Colledge, after previously placing second twice at Norseman, made her mark by taking the lead at Zombie Hill and finishing in the top spot. "Ever since I first saw a photo of Norseman I remember saying ‘That’s the race I want to win!” exclaimed an elated Colledge at the finish. Emilie Klev Bergheim and Kaja Bergwitz-Larsen, both from Norway, clinched second and third places, respectively, after a day-long intense battle.
- Jon Brieivold – 09:09:57
- Sebastian Kienle – 09:34:16
- Allan Hovda – 09:39:27
- Flora Colledge – 11:20:10
- Emilie Klev Bergheim – 11:31:44
- Kaja Bergwitz-Larsen – 11:36:43