Is the Bird going for the World Record?
Can Daniela break the record this weekend?
How's the form in the lead in to the record attempt?
And on and on... A sample of the questions to hit the Inbox in the days leading into Ironman Texas.
While I'm happy for the media interest in the Bird's racing and sincerely wish everyone a great race over the weekend - it doesn't change the fact that the concept of the 'Ironman World Record' is completely out of place. Embraced only by marketers or people who don't understand sport.
For those shaking their heads in disagreement, can I pose a simple question:
Without using Google can you tell me the 'World Record' time for the Olympic triathlon distance? Who holds it?
I didn't think so.
Because in a sport with so many variables; water currents, road conditions, winds, non standard transition areas and a whole range of other factors, it's been long and widely recognised in triathlon that comparing times between events as if they were a standard 100m sprint is completely pointless.
So why then for an Ironman, a triathlon four times the distance of the Olympic and infinitely more variable – do the times magically become relevant again?
Of course I get it. It's wonderful marketing and the concept of a 'sub __' plays very well to the demographic of athletes paying obscene amounts to compete at these events. However as I've written before if it was harmless backslapping that would be one thing.
The problem comes when the spin takes over the actual substance and we get embarrassing outcomes like this:
- Triathlete Magazine May 1, 2018
The above headline and accompanying article summarises everything one needs to know about my position on a potential 'world record' over the same course.
Texas is a 100% validation race for the Angry Bird. Not one mention of times. The only goal is to race to her fitness and punch the ticket to Kona after a great experience racing Oceanside, meeting sponsors and speaking at some of the great triathlon clubs of the sport. Similarly I have nothing but good wishes for all involved and racing the Texas event, and hope all their hard work ends with a successful race weekend.
But I don't judge Daniela's or any age group athletes performance by the individual eccentricities of a race that produces an overly fast swim, bike or run in comparison to others. We are not racing in a pool, a velodrome or a track.
If you really want to judge who's the fastest of all time, you don't need a fast or short course to prove it. 8 World Titles should be enough.