Patrick Lange knows the limits. At Ironman Hawaii, he pushes them.
"Speed Limit 55" reads the traffic sign on the dead straight and eternally long country road. It seems as if Patrick Lange is ducking a little lower on his racing bike at this moment, as if he is pedaling even faster. These are the last training days before the Ironman Hawaii, the oldest, best known and most important long distance triathlon in the world. In a few days Patrick Lange will not only win this Ironman but also defend his title as Ironman World Champion. No, he will make triathlon history. As Record Breaker.
Patrick Lange already has this goal in mind when he drives through the streets of the Big Island in an Audi RS 5 in the days leading up to the triathlon. "In Hawaii, there's a certain energy, a basic tension that rises in you." The pressure at the Ironman Hawaii 2018 must be huge for the triathlete from DSW Darmstadt: Last year he won the title for the first time and set a new track record at 8:01:40 hours. During the competition, usually during the last event, the marathon, he drives his opponents before him and then passes, now becoming the hunted.
The triathlon consists of three events. Each is an ordeal in its own right.
Ironman, this is the supreme event in triathlon, the long distance. The competition consists of three events, each of which is an ordeal in itself.
In Hawaii, the Ironman is even harder: swimming the surf in the open sea, cycling on the hot asphalt, and then the marathon in the midday heat. How does one manage to motivate oneself for such torments during the race? Lange says: "I have triathlon in my head 365 days a year. That's what I long for. It is passion that moves me and makes me push myself beyond my limits."
Lange has not only won the Ironman Hawaii 2018. He redefined it.
Then comes the decisive day: Ironman Hawaii 2018 - and Patrick Lange completes the triathlon of his life. Comes out of the water after 50:37 minutes while swimming in the second chase group; rides the 180.2 kilometer bike run in 4:16:05 minutes; overtakes the leader Cameron Wurf from Australia after 16 kilometers of running, his main event. Lange does not give up the lead after that - and crosses the finish line after 7:52:39 hours. Winning the Ironman Hawaii in less than eight hours, nobody has managed that yet.
Patrick Lange still has the strength for a victory dance. And for proposing to his girlfriend.
The newly crowned Ironman winner dances in the finishing area, then falls to his knees and proposes marriage to his girlfriend, Julia Hofman. The thought of it had already been with him for the previous eight hours: "I started running and thought to myself: I will do it today. That really drove me." Finishing line, dance, marriage proposal - after Lange has done it all, the magic eight hours are still not over.
But what's next for the Ironman hero? If you look Lange in the eye, you'll quickly notice that the passion with which he achieved his World Championship triumph is still burning in him. "There's no way to stop thinking," he says, "I'm gonna have to disappoint the competition." So Lange will compete again at the Ironman Hawaii 2019. And maybe finish again as Record Breaker. He has the will and the passion for it.