Javier Gomez has claimed his first Ironman triumph in Malaysia and set a new record over the course in Langkawi, finishing in 8 hours, 18 minutes, and 59 seconds. With this win, the five-time ITU world champion, two-time Ironman 70.3 world champion, and Olympic silver medalist from Spain has once again qualified for the Ironman World Championship.
Gomez’s long day in the heat and hills characteristic of this race began with almost a two-minute lead out of the 3.8-kilometer swim. However, he faced a strong challenge from Philipp Koutny on the 180-kilometer bike course, when the Swiss athlete surged ahead to build a gap of eight minutes over the last 60 kilometers.
Unfazed as he made his way onto the run, Gomez patiently chipped away at the gap. He finally regained the lead at the 25th kilometer and ran the day’s fastest marathon (2:54:44) to clinch the crown.
“That must have been the most extreme heat conditions I’ve ever raced in. And I won my first Ironman!” Gomez said. “Happy to finish the season in this brutal but beautiful race.”
While his focus for 2020 is the Tokyo Olympics, Gomez also wants to return to Kona and build on his experience from last year, with an eye toward a full-on assault in 2021.