Fortunately being tall is not a requirement of greatness at the IRONMAN World Championship. Champions can come in all shapes and dimensions. One of the giants of IRONMAN is the slight 5’3″ Australian Mirinda Carfrae.
Rinny, as most call her, was originally passionate about basketball as a youth. She played like a tiger in a sport that definitely favors those with more height. Fortunately for the sport of triathlon, she eventually did transition over to it when she was 19-years old.
Her first IRONMAN Hawaii was an incredible splash. She was far from coming in under the radar. Mirinda Carfrae was already an ITU Long Distance Champion (2005) and an IRONMAN 70.3 World Champion (2007). The eyes were on her. And she didn’t disappoint one set of them!
In her first IRONMAN Hawaii Mirinda Carfrae set a new marathon record and finished second.
She blistered a 2:56:51 and came in behind the great Chrissie Wellington. Rinny would follow that the next year in 2010 with another marathon record (2:53:32), and yet another in 2011 (2:52:09). Each of those in themselves are worthy of being a Top 40-Greatest Moment at IRONMAN. But even more amazing was what Rinny would do in 2013 and 2014.
Comparisons are always made at IRONMAN. But most stay tightly locked within the category of the athlete.
People in the same age group talk shop about times and where they finished. Men compare themselves to other men. Women set their standards around other women going for the same podiums. But once in a while there’s a crossover that is so worth turning the spotlight toward and showcasing.
At the IRONMAN World Championships in both 2013 and 2014 Mirinda Carfrae did something more than win the race. She outsplit the men’s champions on the marathon…both years!
Watch how amazingly fast she runs past Daniela Ryf:
Frederick Van Lierde was the men’s champion in 2013. That day his marathon split was 2:51:18. Rinny won her second IRONMAN World Championship, breaking the overall course record and the marathon record. Her run time? A scorching 2:50:38, a time that was 40-seconds faster than Van Lierde’s.
A year later Sebastian Kienle won for the men and ran a 2:54:36 for his marathon. Rinny won for the women and ran a 2:50:26 for her marathon. She set a new marathon record for her fifth time, and once again outsplit the men’s champ, this time by over four-minutes.
Here are Rinny’s thoughts on her epic record setting day.
Reading about her amazing times is one thing. Seeing her run in person is complete mind blowing perfection.
At the finish line waiting for her to come in each of those two years the crowd was glued to the jumbo video screen streaming her race live. Everyone was simply mesmerized by her flawless form. Not a stitch of energy was wasted. Her stride was long, perfect and never-changing. Yes, Rinny only stands 5’3″ tall, but her run is the stuff only superheroes are supposed to be capable of doing in movies. But Mirinda Carfrae does it in the most intense real life environment you can find anywhere: on the IRONMAN World Championship run course.
Here is how Rinny sums up those performances and what her bigger perspective is on her amazing running splits in Kona:
To see what Rinny is up to these days click HERE.
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I am the Founder and CEO at Mark Allen Coaching. I am proud to have been voted in an ESPN global poll "The Greatest Endurance Athlete Of All Time." During my multi-sport career I won the Ironman Triathlon World Championship six time, the inaugural Triathlon World Championship at the Olympic Distance in Avignon, France, and at one point in my career I won 21 straight races across every derivation and distance. It was a great career, but that's all it would ever be unless I was able to share all of the experience and methodology we invented long before smart watches, power meters, and flashy uniforms. That's why I started Mark Allen Coaching, as a way to return to others at least the part of the gifts I received.