American Tim DeBoom, two-time Ironman world champion, now has another title to add to his impressive list: Norseman. On Saturday he took the crown at the world’s toughest long-distance triathlon in Eidfjord, Norway in 11:18:52, with the Swiss Markus Stierli second after a brutal sprint from Rjukan to the summit of Gaustatoppen, the race’s rocky mountaintop finish. In third was 2009 Norseman champ Tom Remman of Norway, who battled the American most of the day until losing touch on the final ascent of the mountain.
The women’s race went to three-time champion Susanne Buckenlei of Germany in a new course record of 13:10:37. In second was Sweden’s Malin Lundvik, whose strong swim saw her seventh out of the water. In third was Norway’s Cesilie Skollerud Hegna.
The race, at Eidfjord in Norway, is in its ninth year. There were 254 athletes from 29 countries and five continents at the start, with 45 women and one-third of the field from outside Norway.
“Norseman is like going back to the roots of triathlon,” DeBoom said after the finish. “Events like this are why triathlon is so big today. The fact that events like Norseman still exists gives me hope for the sport. “
The 2011 edition of Norseman saw organisers re-route the swim due to cold water at the start in Eidfjord, a move that added 20 kilometers to the cycle. Conditions on the day saw the swim start in heavy rain, but the weather improved through the day, with sunshine awaiting the first 160 “black T-shirt” athletes at the top of Gaustatoppen, 1870 meters above sea level. The remainder of the finishers will receive white T-shirts and finish at Gaustablikk hotel, 1000 meters above sea level.
Norseman is the world’s the most northern triathlon, at the same latitude as Anchorage, Alaska. The point-to-point race takes competitors through some of the most beautiful parts of Norway, starting in a fjord and finishing at the top of Gaustatoppen mountain for a total ascent of 5,000 meters. Competitors are required to complete the race with a support crew. The prize to the winner is the same as to the last to finish at the top of the mountain: a fabulous black T-shirt.
The male record holder is Bjorn Andersson of Sweden, who hit a snowstorm at Gaustatoppen but still finished at 10:30 in 2005.
Norseman is owned and organized by Hardangervidda Triatlon Klubb, whose 20 members are the main crew of the event. These people are mainly either active slow moving triathletes or locals from the Eidfjord and Rjukan community. Norseman will celebrate its tenth anniversary next year, marking 10 years since the race was born when 21 athletes jumped off a car ferry and started one of the world’s great endurance challenges in one of the world’s most breathtaking locations.
Norseman Xtreme Triathlon
Eidfjord, Norway; 6 August 2011
1) Tim DeBoom (USA) (1:01:08/5:58:24/4:19:15) 11:18:47
2) Markus Stierli (SUI) (1:10:49/6:07:35/4:22:46) 1:41:10
3) Tom Remman (NOR) (1:00:01/6:00:59/4:46:55) 11:47:55
4) Ulrik Schaarup (DEN) (1:11:36/6:13:50/4:34:33) 11:59:59
5) Lars Eftang (NOR) (1:23:33/6:07:02/4:39:30) 12:10:05
1) Susanne Buckenlei (GER) (1:21:15/6:58:51/4:50:31) 13:10:37
2) Malin Lundvik (SWE) (1:08:44/7:26:46/4:58:52) 13:34:22
3) Cesilie Skollerud Hegna (NOR) (1:35:39/7:14:01/5:18:27) 14:08:07