Top 10 Ironman Triathletes

Written by: Editorial Staff

August 5, 2011
Filed Under Sports 


One of the top ten ironman triathletesContributed by Tim Brugger, Top 10 Guru

Ironman Triathlete.

It’s really sort of redundant; anyone that can run a marathon after swimming 2.4 miles in open water and riding their bike for 112 miles is an ironman, period. While there are “mini-triathlons” that would merely maim the average person, ironman triathlons are reserved for the strongest (or most insane, depending on your point of view) among us.

So, who are these superheroes and heroines? The Top 10 Ironman Triathletes are as follows:

10. Erin Baker

One of the top ten ironman triathletes

Chalk one up for the good, old U.S.A. Erin kicks off our list of great ironman triathletes based on a couple of amazing stats. First, anytime you win in Hawaii you’ve accomplished something huge in the world of triathlons; she did it twice. Then, you add to that she won 9 other times, completing an amazing string of winning 85% of the triathlons (ironman and otherwise) she entered. What gambler wouldn’t love those odds?

9. Heather Fuhr

One of the top ten ironman triathletes

She’s since retired, but when Heather entered an ironman competition, chances were pretty good she was going to win, or at the least give everyone in the field a run for their money. As an Ironman World Champion and 9-time winner, she remains one of the greatest female; no, scratch that, one of the greatest ironman triathletes ever, period.

8. Thomas Hellriegel

One of the top ten ironman triathletes

Affectionately referred to as “hell on wheels”, with a last name like that for one of the world’s great ironman triathletes, you knew something like that was coming. And it’s fitting; Thomas still holds the bike course record he set in Hawaii in 1996. He tore up the island averaging over 25 miles an hour for the 112 mile course. I’ve been stuck behind drivers on the freeway who weren’t going that fast!

7. Joanna Lawn

One of the top ten ironman triathletes

Coming from a cyclist background gave Joanna Lawn a bit of a leg up on her competition in that area, and she used that to her advantage mercilessly against her opponents. As a 7-time ironman triathlon winner, Joanna was no stranger to the thrill of victory. She’s probably gotten used to seeing her name on Top 10 lists like this too.

6. Peter Reid

One of the top ten ironman triathletes

It could be argued, and with good reason, that Peter Reid deserves an even higher spot on our Top 10 list. Winning 3 World Championships and 10 overall ironman titles provides some pretty good fodder to back up the argument. If not for his retirement in 2006, three short years after winning his last World Championship, he may very well have added to his list of accomplishments; and moved up the list a bit.

5. Dave Scott

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One of the original star ironman triathletes, Dave Scott has won so many times I think even he lost count. Actually, Dave dominated the entire decade of the 80’s, winning World Championships on six different occasions. While Mark Allen holds the record for the oldest winner (if you can call 37 old), he was nearly knocked off his perch by Dave Scott. Dave came out of retirement at the ripe old age of 40 and finished second in Hawaii. A couple years later at age 42, he still finished the most grueling race in the world 5th, running the marathon in 2:45!

4. Lori Bowden

One of the top ten ironman triathletes

Hail Canada! Ca-knuckle heads everywhere know Lori, as do most triathlon fans. One of the most popular athletes in the sport, Ms. Bowden earned her acclaim. She’s won in Hawaii twice, and 12 times around the world. Four of her wins were under 9 hours, an incredible feat in and of itself, let alone doing it 4 times. Another first for Lori was being the first woman to break the 3 hour mark in the marathon. Again, this was after a 2.4 mile swim (in open water) and 112 mile bike tour of the countryside.

3. Mark Allen

One of the top ten ironman triathletes

Winning the Ironman Triathlon World Championships 6 times will pretty much guarantee a spot on any Top 10 list of ironman triathletes. And these came after losing 6 times; talk about a never say die attitude. As you may have guessed, ironman triathlons tend to be for the young and spry. One more record Mark holds may be as impressive as all the others; he is the oldest ironman winner ever, taking home the prize in 1995 at age 37.

2. Natascha Badmann

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What is it about those Europeans? These folks take their ironman triathlons very seriously, as Natascha can attest. A biker extraordinaire, she was the first European to win in Hawaii, unanimously considered the pinnacle of the triathlon world. Apparently, Natascha enjoyed standing on the podium in Kona so much; she went ahead and won the event another 5 times. As an ironman triathlete, Ms. Badmann is nearly in a league of her own.

1. Luc Van Lierde

One of the top ten ironman triathletes

The first European to ever win the Ironman Triathlon World Championship, Luc picked up right where Mark Allen left off. In 1997 our man Luc struck gold in the European Ironman competition. With a time of 7:50:27, he set a world record that still stands all these years later. Can you imagine? After the swimming 2.4 miles and biking 112, he proceeds to clock a 2 hour, 36 minute (and change) marathon. Whoa.

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