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Fastest Ironman on North American Soil & What it Takes to Win Ironman Zurich 7 Years In a Row

By September 26, 2013August 7th, 20232 Comments

Ronnie Schildknecht may not be a household name.  But he should be.  Why? because nobody in history has logged a faster Ironman on the soil of this continent faster than Ronnie.  This is a guy who won Ironman Florida in 2011 in 7 hours and 59 minutes.  An Ironman in under 8 hours!

Just how fast is that? After swimming 2.4 miles in the ocean in 51 minutes, imagine getting on your bike and riding 112 miles at an average pace of almost 26mph for 4 hours and 19 minutes straight.  Then imagine getting off your bike and running a steady 6 minute to 6:15 pace to clock a blazing 2:43 marathon.

Not enough for you?  When Ronnie won Ironman Zurich this summer, he became the only athlete to have won a single Ironman race seven years in a row consecutively.

Beyond his incomprehensible athletic achievements, Ronnie is a man of soft-spoken disposition and considerate nature.  A guy more comfortable letting others bask in the limelight while allowing his race results speak on his behalf.  Refreshing.

What I found most compelling is how Ronnie’s training has evolved over the last few years to a protocol that dispenses with the knee-jerk conventional wisdom of high volume and places more emphasis on high intensity quality work; recovery; mental preparation & visualization; and a protracted taper beyond his previous comfort zone.

Ronnie’s evolution into the elite athlete he is today has required developing a greater understanding of — and confidence in — what specifically works for him — irrespective of the opinions of others, recommended training protocols, or the flavor of the month diet or training plan.

What works for him.  

Powerful.  And simple.  Yet something that nonetheless can be so elusive and difficult to embrace.  For Ronnie, it didn’t come easy at first — his sub-par Kona performances since his blazing 4th place in 2008 attributable to overtraining and not listening to what his body was telling him.  Why? Because trusting one’s instincts can prove incredibly difficult without extreme personal confidence and practiced mental discipline.  A strong internal compass capable of muting the outside world.  Healthy boundaries.  And a profound sense of self.

Whether you are an athlete yourself or just a fan, Ronnie’s message of personal responsibility and self-awareness is powerful — principles that transcend sport — applicable to life wherever you find yourself.

And I have no doubt that after listening to this interview, like me you’ll be a Ronnie fan, ready to cheer him on to Ironman victory in Kona.

I hope you enjoy the show.

PS – Here’s a really nice video from profiling Ronnie in his lead up to winning his 7th consecutive Ironman Zurich. Well worth the watch!



  • Jan says:

    Working with Swiss people professionally, I enjoyed Ronnie’s accent but above all his kind and down to earth personality. I wish him all the best especially in his personal life with a baby on the way. I is by far the most amazing and rewarding experience of my life, so I hope he finds the time to be a dad, because I find having time to be there is the most important. Rich, you are getting better and better by ever podcast!

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