Ask Patrick Lange what he’s most proud of and the answer is simple - “not giving up my dream to win Kona”.
That dream was realised not once but twice by the German star as he claimed consecutive victories in the IRONMAN World Championship in 2017 and 2018. Just for good measure, he also broke the course record on each occasion and in 2018 became the first athlete to break the eight-hour mark for the race.
Lange had hinted strongly at what was to come on his debut in Hawaii in 2016, as he finished third behind compatriots Jan Frodeno and Sebastian Kienle to complete a German clean sweep. In doing so, he produced a run course record (2:39:45).
It is all a far cry from the day when Lange first attended a local triathlon as a spectator and decided the following year he would be back to complete.
Patrick, who grew up idolising Michael Schumacher, has now joined the Formula 1 ace as a true German sporting great. He was named Germany’s Sports Personality Of The Year in 2018, following in the footsteps of the legendary Schumi.
Those incredible Kona successes were the culmination of years of hard work for the man from Bad Wildungen.
“I think my past, with all its up and downs, shows that if you really want to fulfil your goal you can achieve it,” he says.
While the huge challenge presented by the Big Island holds no fears for Patrick any more, he remains terrified of snakes (he has no idea why).
In terms of quirks, Lange says as a physio he often treats himself while standing around, without even noticing he’s doing it.
Even a man made of iron has a sweet tooth meanwhile, and Patrick admits his favourite cheat meal is brownie with vanilla ice cream.
Lange, who is now based in Australia and loves to train in Salzburg, says he is driven by finding out where his personal limit is, and always tries just to control what is within his own power while racing.
Patrick’s bid to complete a famous Kona hat-trick in 2019 was ended early when he was forced to pull out during the bike stage as he suffered blackouts following an overnight fever.