Discover how the Norweigan triathlete, Mette Petterson was crowned Queen of the 2018 Isklar Norseman Xtreme Triathlon, despite never racing a full distance triathlon before (oh, and she absolutely smashed the female course record too)!

The crowned King of Norseman became not a one time winner or even a double winner of Norseman, but a TRIPLE winner of the world’s toughest Ironman distance triathlon. *sharp intake of breath and mouthing wow*

Photo credit: Agurtxane Concellon

This was the Isklar Norseman Xtreme Triathlon’s 16th year in which 238 of the world’s most daring triathletes representing 35 countries swam 3.8km, cycled 180km, ran 42.2km and ascended more than 5235m in Norway’s exquisite landscape.

To be clear… that’s a swim in cold-is fjord waters, a bike through mountains and a marathon run up another mountain to the finish. Did I mention this starts at 5am by the athletes jumping off a ferry?

An unusually warm day greeted these daring triathletes in Eidfjord, Norway on Saturday 4th August. They all converged on the back of the ferry at 4am in the morning, ready to plunge into the deep black waters below and start their journey to the top of Mount Gaustatoppen, as soon as the horn was sounded.

Three times Norseman winner Allan Hovda and course record holder Lars Christian Vold had a friendly race rivalry and were the men’s favourites to win. The female athletes tipped for podium finishers were training partners Mette Petterson and Heini Hartikainen, a 2017 Ironman world champion podium finisher.

Hovda and Vold made for a very fast and very exciting race, as they were neck and neck until deep into the race, having held around the top 5 throughout the swim and bike section. However, shortly after starting the run, Hovda had really taken the lead and maintained a significant gap of 10 minutes. After 10 hours 5 minutes of racing, Hovda climbed the last steps to the summit of Gaustatoppen, the race’s epic finishing line and was clearly ecstatic to have won for the third time.

Photo credit: Agurtxane Concellon

“It was such a relief to cross the line and honestly, I’m feeling really good and quite tired. I had a great swim, a really good bike and I felt amazing on the run, but after 20km I didn’t feel that amazing anymore, so I had to start working. I wasn’t sure I was going to win until I got quite far up Gaustatoppen and couldn’t see anyone behind me. I was prepared to kill myself to win, that was my motto and my mindset, as I was eager to get back and show that I’m the King of Norseman!”

Allan HovdaThree times Norseman winner, winner of Swissman, Lofoten Triathlon and Ironman Haugesund

Mette Petterson’s performance was jaw-dropping and awe-inspiring, she proved the course was no match for her and destroyed last years female record by a whopping 48 minutes, with an impressive time of 11:16:10. Mette was the fifth athlete out of the water and the first woman, she continued this fast pace throughout the race and held at least a lead of 6 minutes throughout the entire race.

During the run, Hartikainen closed the gap and was hot on Mette’s heels, she crossed the finish line soon after Mette and both became the first women to achieve a sub-12 hour Norseman race.

Photo credit: Agurtxane Concellon

“I feel euphoric [having crossed the finish line]. This is insane. I was so freaking nervous the whole week! The swim was beautiful, except that I got cramps from 2km and they stuck with me all of the way. I felt really powerful on the bike and I had an ok run until 16km, then I had stomach issues, but whatever, it was freaking amazing! I also really enjoyed racing with the people that I admire and love. I had a blast!”.

Mette PettersonQueen of Norseman

Who knows what next years race will bring, but one thing is for certain, the triathletes are getting stronger and faster, making for a more exhilarating race each year.

Watch the race summary video below ⬇️

Header photo credit: Agurtxane Concellon

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