227 participants from 23 nations jumped into the water from a car ferry in the early morning at 0500 hours. They swam 3.8 kilometres towards Eidfjord (Hardanger) before they mounted the bikes for 180 steep kilometres across the Hardanger mountain plateau. At Austbygde they changed into their running shoes and set out for a full marathon of 42 kilometres. The final leg went to the township of Rjukan before they started the steep climb toward the finishing point at Gaustatoppen 1883 metres above sea level. The total climb of the day was 5000 metres. The winner got a black T-shirt. 210 participants finished the race.
I was 10 minutes behind Gonny after the swim and I catched up with her half through the bike leg, Buckenlei says. I then ruined my legs when I fought with Gonny up the last hills at the bike. The marathon therefore became very hard for me. I kept a 3 minutes lead through the first 25 kilometers of the run, and then I managed to gain time up the 17 kilometres long hill at the marathon. I was so happy to win and to get that course record. I have never fought this hard for anything before. To me this is the best race in triathlon. Even my support wants to come back.
– I thought the race was over when Tom exited the water 18 minutes ahead of me, men’s winner Oftedal says. But the cycling went very fast over the plateau so I just went for it and caught up with them. I ran really fast on the flat parts but struggled with my thighs and stomach. But I came back and by the time I neared the top I felt pretty good. I gunned it several times and it felt good when he could not hang on. I had great help from my support today. This is an experience of a lifetime. I have worked for this for 2 years now, says the elated winner.
Tom Remman won last years` Norseman, and for a long time it looked as if he would keep Oftedal away. – I am incredibly satisfied, ate right and my legs felt great. We ran shoulder to shoulder but in the end I had to let him go. There was no more juice left in this old man. It felt like a victory today, but Henrik was the best of us.
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Photos of Susanne Buckenlei:
Photos of Henrik Oftedal: