Ironman Austria promised to be an exciting race this year and it certainly lived up to the hype. Last year Marino ‘Bink’ Vanhoenacker, fuelled by the leading sports nutrition brand High5, narrowly missed out on the Ironman World Record by 98 seconds but in 2011 he returned with a vengeance. His winning time was 7:45:58, smashing the old Ironman World record by over 4 minutes!
A 6th consecutive Ironman Austria win seemed like a formality for the Team Commerzbank athlete as the pro athletes lined up for the swim under blue skies and with virtually no wind. It proved to be perfect conditions for a fast race. Marino exited the water in 46:49min. That was already a minute faster than in 2010. He soon caught the leader Marko Albert as he pushed hard on the bike, early on averaging 43km/h. Even though he slowed down a little towards the end of the bike leg he still set the second fastest bike in Ironman history (4:15:37) and improved last year’s time by 3 minutes!
Marino’s closest challenger was Michael Weiss but even he was 7:34min back after Transition 2 and continued to lose time on the run as the flying Belgian was setting a pace of 3:43min/km. It was a memorable performance and the large crowd at the finish celebrated their champion in style.
Marino was ecstatic with his time, “This race surpassed anything in my sports life. It was perfect conditions today, I was in perfect shape at the right time, my material was excellent again and the crowd in Kärnten was better than ever. This definitely is my second home,” His next target will be the Ironman World Championships in October where he’ll be looking to improve on his 3rd place last year.
High5 is one of Marino’s strategic partners and he worked closely on his race nutrition plan with their team of nutrition experts. Tim Atkinson, High5 director, commented on the new World Record:”This is a fantastic achievement for Marino and very well deserved. We knew he was capable of breaking the record but to break it so convincingly is really special. After his result last year we did some testing on his race nutrition and this helped us make some important changes. We learnt that we could optimise his carbohydrate uptake using our new generation of 2:1 Fructose drinks with a moderate caffeine content. A higher energy supply means that he should be able to push harder on the bike and the run. Our High5 Race Faster Guides are the direct result of the testing we do with elite athletes. We already know from research that our products offer substantial performance benefits to endurance athletes at all levels. This backs up our claim to be the fastest sports nutrition in the world!”
The testing, which was performed at Hertfordshire University, involved riding for 3 hours and running for 2 hours, both at Ironman pace. From the data taken during the test, the leading scientists at the University were able to determine the maximum absorption level and therefore recommend a strategy based on Marino’s anticipated volume of drink consumption and the mixing concentration/ composition of the drinks.