Joe Skipper shatters course record
LAKE PLACID — When Joe Skipper crossed the finish line to win the Ironman Lake Placid on Sunday, July 23, he sat down and took off his shoes exposing blisters he garnered from finishing the 140.6-mile triathlon.
“Did I break the course record?” he asked.
The British citizen didn’t just break the course record; he shattered it, finishing in a time of 8 hours, 3 minutes, 46 seconds. The previous record was set by Rasmus Svenningsson, who finished in 8:13:25 in 2021.
“Obviously, you can get better conditions some years than others, but if you’ve broken a course record you probably have one of the best course records on the day on that course,” Skipper said. “It means you had to race hard and you had to have a great performance to win.”
While Skipper has won multiple Ironman events and long-distance triathlon races in the past — including having won Ironman Arizona in under eight hours in 2022 — this year hasn’t gone the way he intended it to, at least not result-wise.
“I’m definitely going to make the most of this one because I was actually starting to think, will I see the top of the podium again?” he said. “It was massive to do that, so I’m very pleased.”
Ben Hoffman of Durango, Colorado, finished in second place in 8:06:06 and Matt Hanson of Castle Rock, Colorado, earned third place in 8:09:51.
While Skipper didn’t have the fastest swim time in the pro field and wasn’t the fastest runner, he dominated the 112-mile bike ride. His bike time of 4:19:54 was the fastest among all competitors and helped him grab a massive advantage over the other athletes.
“The plan was to just push the bike pretty hard and make everybody work and put everybody under pressure and then hope for the best on the run,” he said.
Skipper completed the swim in 53:47 and wrapped up his day with a time of 2:45:17 in the Ironman’s 26.2-mile marathon, despite dealing with multiple blisters on his feet.
At the start of the run, Skipper held about a five-minute advantage over eventual second-place finisher Hoffman, who won Ironman Lake Placid in 2010. Hoffman did his best to catch Skipper while coming within three minutes of him at one point.
“I was worried that he was going to catch me,” Skipper said. “I was running scared.”
Around the halfway point of his full marathon run, a light drizzle turned into a downpour. However, it didn’t seem to slow down the runners and especially not Skipper.
“That was the best part of the run for me. It was like being back home,” he said. “It was really, really nice. When it dried up again, it got humid and it felt quite tough.”
After competing in Ironman Lake Placid for the second time, Skipper said he’d love to return.
“It’s a really nice race and the scenery is great,” he said. “It’s easy to get to from the U.K.”