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MARATHON

Denmark is the Ironman capital of the world

UPDATED: The Danes participate in triathlons like no other nationality and they lived up to their reputation as a 'fitness nation' by claiming the top spot for women and number two for men in Sunday's KMD Ironman Copenhagen.

Denmark is the Ironman capital of the world
Ironwoman: Denmark's Michelle Vesterby took first place among women on Sunday. Photo: Nicolai Linares/Scanpix
Over 3,000 participants swam, ran and bicycled their way through the Danish capital region on Sunday as part of the KMD Ironman Copenhagen as another estimated 200,000 spectators cheered them on.
 
The massive turnout should come as no surprise, as Denmark has now established itself as the world’s biggest Ironman country. According to the World Triathlon Corporation, Denmark had 802 Ironman participants per one million inhabitants in 2014, making it far and away the country with the biggest proportion of ‘iron’ men and women. 
 
Behind Denmark was Luxembourg with 498, Norway with 346, Switzerland with 295 and Austria with 284. 
 
“Denmark is generally viewed abroad as a fitness nation, where a lot of people are in good shape. And after the recent years have seen more marathons and ultra-races, many have now opened their eyes to triathlons and Ironman,” Thomas Veje Olsen, the head of Ironman Danmark, told national broadcaster DR. 
 
Ironman competitors must complete a 3.8 km swimming route, a 180 km bicycle ride and a full 42.2 km marathon run. 
 
Copenhagen’s version of the Ironman was first held in 2010, when some 1,600 participants put their endurance to the test. On Sunday, nearly twice as many participated and the event sold out faster than any other triathlon event in Europe. 
 
Denmark's impressive reputation as an 'iron' nation was bolstered by Sunday's results. Dane Michelle Vesterby took the win among women, finishing the gruelling course in just under nine hours.

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Michelle Vesterby, our IRONMAN champion, was one happy girl at the finishline! (interview in Danish…) Thanks Sportsfilm!

Posted by KMD IRONMAN Copenhagen on Sunday, August 23, 2015

On the men's side, Denmark's Henrik Hyldelund was second with a finishing time of 8:21:51. Guilherme Valenza Manocchio of Brazil was the men's winner with a time of 8:14:56.
 
 
Last year's Copenhagen Ironman event saw twin brothers Steen and Peder Mondrup make history when, competing together as Team Tvilling (Team Twin), Peder became the first person with cerebral palsy to ever complete an Ironman contest

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RUNNING

Copenhagen is home to fastest half marathon in history

Kenyan superstar runner Geoffrey Kamworor smashed the world record for the half marathon in Sunday’s CPH Half event.

Copenhagen is home to fastest half marathon in history
Geoffrey Kamworor crosses the finish line in Copenhagen in a world record time. Photo: CPH Half

The elite athlete powered through the streets of the Danish capital in a breathtaking time of 58:01, beating the previous record by 17 seconds and his own personal best by 53 seconds.

He was 75 seconds clear of the second-placed athlete, Bernard Kipkorir Ngeno.

“It is very emotional for me to set this record. And doing it in Copenhagen, where I won my first world title [in 2014, ed.], adds something to it,” the three-time World Half Marathon Champion said after the race.

In the women’s race, Ethiopian Birhane Dibaba Adugna took a surprise victory with a time of 1:05:57, the second-fastest time ever run on the course.

Over 23,000 people took to the streets of Copenhagen to take on the 21.1-kilometre challenge and the city’s residents came out in force in the early autumn weather to spur them on.

READ ALSO: Kenyan former world champions arrive in Denmark for Copenhagen half marathon

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