Sam Long is the new No. 1 ranked PTO men’s triathlete!

Sam Long set a new course record in St. George and vaulted to the top of the standings

Sam Long is on a tear. After a string of hard-earned podiums, he won in impressive fashion at the Ironman 70.3 North American Championship in St. George, setting a new course record on his way to winning by nearly seven-and-a-half minutes. 

The race unfolded for Long like it has so many other times. He found himself 3:17 back after the 1.2-mile swim and first transition. Then he hit the gas. By midway through the 56-mile ride he had taken the front of the race. By the end of the ride, he was 51 seconds ahead of second-place Maximillian Sperl, and more than three minutes ahead of third-place Nicholas Quenet. Long then continued to push the pace on the 13.1-mile run, well after it was clear that victory would be his.

Sam Long looking for his competitors. | Photo: Eric Wyn

After the effort, Long shot up to No. 1 on the Pro Triathletes Organisation’s men’s rankings. He is currently on a streak of placing Top 3 in seven straight races. This year, he has a win at Ironman 70.3 Pucon, and second-place finishes at Miami T100, Ironman 70.3 Oceanside and Singapore T100.

“With the T100, we’ve never had so many world class fields assembled this early in the year,” Long said. “And so it’s really a unique time in the sport. And to grab the No. 1 ranking and be taking the lead in this historic time in the sport, it’s really cool for me.”

Long does not want for confidence, but even he has been taken aback by his success in 2024 thus far. Though he has historically performed well on the course, winning last year as well, he nearly didn’t make it to St. George. Traveling to and from Singapore three weeks ago, then immediately moving into a new house while also helping take care of his newborn son Leo left him unsure whether he could perform his best at the event. He told sponsors he would sit out the race. 

Sam Long rocking Singapore in April.

But as the start date got closer, he reevaluated his shape and decided to give St. George a go. Good thing he did. 

“I was shocked, because when I got to St. George early in the week, I was like, ‘I’m feeling the best I’ve felt all year. This is going to be a great race for me,'” Long said. “As the race continued to unfold, and when it became clearer and clearer that I’d won this race, rather than going easier, I was like, ‘I’m having a pretty special day, and I want to enjoy that. And I want to respect the special day I’m having by giving myself everything and by continuing to push.'”

For the second time this year, Long raced in front of his son and fiancée, Lara. And for the first time (and certainly not the last) his son got to see him win. It turns out that Leo played a major role in helping his dad crush the course.

Sam Long is on a hot streak of podiums.

“It’s so hilly here, and what I’ve been doing frequently is going running with Leo, pushing a stroller and having Lara running next to me,” Long said. “So I was imagining pushing the stroller on those uphills because the stroller is like 50 pounds. When you go uphill it’s super hard and it just allowed me to fly up and over those up hills.”

Long’s goal is to keep the good times rolling. The T100 Triathlon World Tour is a major emphasis for him, and the third round — San Francisco T100, a.k.a. Escape From Alcatraz Triathlon — will take place in just over a month on June 9.

Long is having a blast this season — few people have more fun in triathlon than him — and he’s not going to rest on his laurels for even a moment.

“The enjoyment is every day of the process, just continuing to get better,” Long said. “I’m already thinking, ‘How can I continue to improve?’ Let’s keep going.’ I don’t want a break. I do think it’s important to celebrate the results, but the enjoyment is the everyday process.”