Norway’s Norseman Xtreme Triathlon is known as one of the hardest races out there, but the 2015 edition proved particularly tough on Saturday (1 August), with chilly conditions forcing the organisers to take the sensible decision and shorten the swim.

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Water temperatures hovered around 10.5°C in Hardangerfjord, meaning the swim was halved for the first time in the race’s 13-year history – it’s usually closer to 13-15°C.

Nonetheless, 249 hardy athletes jumped in from the car ferry and began a long day of racing that would involve 1.9km of swimming, 180km of cycling and 42.2km of running.

Men’s race

Defending champion Allan Hovda had an impressive support crew that included Danish pro triathlete Rasmus Henning, who joined him for the last section of the run, which begins with the long uphill drag at 25km on the road known as ‘Zombie Hill’ and finishes at the top of the rocky Gaustatoppen mountain.

“It’s been an extremely rough day,” said Hovda after claiming the win in 9:43hrs. “Henrik Oftedal biked like crazy.” Second place went  to Lars Petter Stormo (NOR), and third place went to up-and-coming youngster Lars Kristian Vold.