His countryman Brent MacMahon was second in 7:50:15, the only other finisher to go under 8hrs, and also recorded the fastest run time of 2:40:17; however the day was all about Sanders, who broke Marino Vanhoenacker’s previous 7:45:58 Ironman record by over a minute.

Despite being known as ‘The Valley of the Sun’ temperatures were overcast and still for raceday in Arizona, which undoubtedly contributed to Sanders’ incredible 4:04:38 bike split. According to our records that’s the second fastest 180km by a competitor in an iron-distance event, only bettered by the 4:02:17 Andrew Starykowicz posted at Ironman Florida in 2013.   

Although Sanders’ time is the fastest ever at an Ironman-branded event, the world record for the fastest iron-distance race of all time is still safely with current world champion Jan Frodeno, who went 9mins faster at Challenge Roth in July with a 7:35:39. 

In the women’s race, American Meredith Kessler claimed victory in Arizona for the third time running, finishing in 8:48:23. Yvonne Van Vlerken of the Netherlands and Malindi Elmore of Canada also went under 9hrs in times of 8:51:27 and 8:57:22 respectively.

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Lionel Sanders explains when to use tri gadgets and when you don’t need to use them 

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