Vegas oddsmakers are keeping a close eye on the NBA and NHL playoffs. Meanwhile, the most exciting shootout in sports is happening this weekend in their own backyard. The HYROX World Championships will deliver a palpable energy not suitable for anywhere but Vegas, but is the outcome a foregone conclusion? Is everyone just fighting for second while the favorite, Hunter McIntyre, claims his prize? Not exactly.
We in the states tend to get tunnel vision and try to guess which American will beat the other Americans… totally forgetting that this is an international competition. Granted, 2021 HYROX World Champion, Tobias Lautwein of Germany is still recovering from COVID and won’t be in Vegas to defend his title. Still, there’s Alexander Roncevic, who is currently ranked 4th in the world and placed second at Worlds in 2019 and 2021...when Hunter came in 4th. Don’t underestimate this Austrian!
Let's also remember Tim Wenish of Germany. He has been the world champion of his age group (under 24) for years, and he's currently ranked 3rd throughout the sport.
KENT IS THE CONTENDER TO WATCH
Even among the Americans, Hunter is not a shoo-in. Our old friend, Ryan Kent, is ranked 2nd this year. His finishing time of 57:45 is 2 minutes and 36 seconds slower than Hunter’s (55:09). That sounds like an insurmountable deficit until you break it down. Here’s a comparison of Hunter McIntyre’s fastest race (Dallas) compared to Ryan Kent’s (Chicago).
Ryan wins all of the runs by seconds except for the first and the last. It’s that last run, between lunges and wall ball, that Hunter really makes up ground. When it’s all said and done, Hunter’s total run time (29:19) barely edges out Ryan’s (29:21). What’s interesting is that Ryan’s sled pull was almost a minute faster than Hunter’s. While McIntyre is faster at most workouts, the difference between the two is seldom more than a few seconds. In fact, after considering everything on the above chart, Hunter should only lead Ryan by 29 seconds. So, how is there a 2:36 second difference on the official leaderboard, and how can Kent possibly make up that deficit?
Along with tracking the time it takes to complete each run and workout, HYROX records what they call Roxzone Time. It’s the time spent in the workout stations before starting and after completing the exercise. We’re talking about the transition area between the stations and the run course. It's during the approach and/or departure from each station where Hunter steals the show. Ryan Kent accumulated 4 min. 33 seconds in the Roxzone compared to Hunter’s 2 min 26 seconds. That’s a difference of 2 minutes and 7 seconds, and it accounts for most of the difference between this year's top 2 finishes.
So, back to the original question. Can anyone beat Hunter McIntyre this weekend? It's not that we're betting against him; but in Vegas, anything is possible. Ryan Kent seems like the top contender, but he has to get in and out of the stations quicker. That’s where he’s losing ground. Otherwise, he’s just 29 seconds behind.
Between farmers carry, wall ball, and pushing/pulling the sled, HYROX is very much about moving weight. That's exactly the kind of functional fitness we aimed to facilitate when designing our MudGear Ruck Socks. Ruckers agree they're the best footwear for long, weighted walks and workouts.