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Story behind the picture: bloodied champion

After his incredible fourth win at Ironman France, pictures have emerged of winner Frederik Van Lierde bloodied on the run. We asked him to shed some light on exactly what happened - and how it affected his race and win.


Triathlons are one of the most physically demanding activities you can put the human body through. All the training, nutrition and planning needed for the 2.4-mile (3.86 km) swim, 112-mile (180.25 km) ride and 26.2-mile (42.16 km) run is exhaustive, as is the event day itself. The average finisher time is around the 12hour 35minute mark – half a day spent competing. And at Ironman France, Frederik Van Lierde won the day in a time of 8:31:31 wearing the On Cloudflash - and after bleeding heavily from his head and face during the race.


This was the Belgian triathlete’s 4th win of Ironman France, adding another podium to his incredible collection that includes the title of World Champion. However, the pictures of him with a bloodied face, top and running hat  while running during the event have had many fans online wondering what happened and how, even with such an injury, he still managed to pull through mentally and physically to take the win.


As a long-time On athlete, we were able to sit with the legend himself to ask just that.





It was about 8km into the run, and I was bleeding hard.

I had actually hit a shower head (that caused the bleeding). Every athlete passes under these showers to refresh around every 2km. The first 4 were all high enough, but the 5th… wasn’t.


It changed my race plan, of course. I was more concerned about the heavy bleeding and not really in the race mentally. I was able to change my plans from 'going for the fastest possible time' to 'getting to the finish line first'. I stopped at every shower after that for about 10sec to cool my head, and overall, chose a slower run pace to go at. If you want to win, you don't give up. Mentally and physically I was able to overcome this “little” discomfort.


Winning for the 4th time in Nice - one of the most prestigious races in the world - it makes me really proud and, of course, happy.


And the advice Frederik has for others looking to follow in his footsteps?

Be patient, work hard and never give up. Look at me: doing triathlon since I was 17 years old, and I had to wait till I was 34 before I became World Champion...

The Cloudflash
The shoe of the champion
See it here