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Appreciating Mirinda Carfrae's Ironman World Championship run

Mirinda Carfrae won the Ironman World Championship on Saturday, with the kind of run that makes her a legend in the sport.

Mirinda Carfrae of Australia in action on the run leg during the 2011 Taupo Ironman on March 5, 2011 in Taupo, New Zealand.
Mirinda Carfrae of Australia in action on the run leg during the 2011 Taupo Ironman on March 5, 2011 in Taupo, New Zealand.
Sandra Mu

Mirinda Carfrae won the 2013 Ironman World Championship on Saturday, and broke Chrissie Wellington's record in the process, crossing the finish line in 8:52:14. And while that was nearly one week ago, it's still worth looking at what an amazing day that was for the Australian.

Carfare was slow to get out of the water, covering the 2.40-mile swim in just 58:50 (please note that "just" is being used in a strictly relative sense), more than three minutes slower then her time from her previous Kona win in 2010. But she quickly made-up time on the bike.

Riding her new Felt IA, Carfrae tore through the first quarter of the course and finished the 112 miles in 4:58:20 (22.53 mph average) -- that was 14 minutes faster than she rode last year, and seven minutes quicker than her pace in 2010. Carfrae got off the bike in 11th place, but then took off on the run and absolutely put on a clinic in the marathon.

She covered the first 5K in 18:46 (6:03/mile pace) and hit the half-way mark in a blistering 1:22:58. Carfrae ended up running a 2:50:38 marathon, breaking her own course record on the run, and eclipsing Wellngton's overall mark by two minutes. Indeed, Carfrae's day was truly special:

  • Her marathon time would have been fast enough for 41st in Sunday's Chicago Marathon among the women, and 29th in the 2011 NYC Marathon. Keep in mind, Carfrae had to swim 2.4 miles and bike 112 miles first, and did it all in the hot Kona sun.
  • Carfrae had the third-fastest run split of the day, trailing just two of the men's finishers
  • She was the only woman to out-split the men in the marathon on Saturday
  • Carfrae's winning time of 8:52:14 would have been good enough for an 8th-place finish among the men in 1990, a 7th-place finish in 1988, a 3rd-place finish in 1987, and it would've been fast enough to win the men's race in 1984 (which says a lot about how fast the Ironman has become, both overall and among the women)

And she still thinks she can go faster. "I aim to go under 2:50 (in the marathon) at some point." I wouldn't bet against her.