Date announced for Sub7 and Sub8 challenges

A date has finally been set for the Pho3nix Sub7 and Sub8 challenge. Here's what you need to know

Credit: Donald Miralle for Ironman

After many months of speculation and anticipation, a date has finally been announced for the Pho3nix Sub7 and Sub8 project.

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Triathletes all over the world won’t have long to wait to see this historic challenge take place, with the action set to unfold on either 5 or 6 June 2022.

Which day the challenge eventually takes place on will depend on weather conditions.

The challenge, sponsored by Zwift, will see Alistair Brownlee and Kristian Blummenfelt (who recently recorded the fastest-ever Ironman time) attempt to complete a long-distance triathlon in under seven hours, while Lucy Charles-Barclay and Nicola Spirig will try to break the eight-hour mark over the same distance.

Pho3nix Sub7 and Sub8 venue

Alongside the dates, the venue has also been revealed. The challenge will take place at the Dekra Lausitzring in Germany, which is a racing complex known for hosting the German Touring Car Championship series and the Superbike World Championship. It’s also used for testing by vehicle manufacturers.

In choosing a venue, the organisers considered courses that would lend themselves to the fastest possible times. The decision making took into account things like time zone, climate, wind, altitude, track surface and layout.

The 3.8km swim will take place in Lake Senftenberg, a manmade lake roughly 10km away from the race track. Due to the size of the lake, the athletes will be able to swim the entire leg in a straight point-to-point route, saving time thanks to the lack of turns.

They’ll then ride with the prevailing wind to the Lausitzring, where they’ll race around the 5.85km Test Oval until they complete 180km. Here, they’ll benefit from the long straights and lack of slow-speed turns, while their pacers will regularly swap in and out to help maintain the speed required.

In order to achieve their aims, the athletes will have to average a speed of 45-50kph, explains the organisers.

The 42.2km run will then follow, which’ll also take place on the track. Again, the athletes will have pacers to help maintain the required speed. They’ll need to average a kilometre every four minutes to stay in the hunt for the record.

“The perfect location”

Alistair Brownlee training for Sub7 challenge

Speaking about the choice of venue, Brownlee said: “The Dekra Lausitzring is designed for racing and speed, so it is the perfect location for us to attempt to break the mythical Sub7 and Sub8 barriers.

“Every element of the course needs to create optimal conditions for us to make gains and having a controlled environment to maximise results and minimise risk will be essential.”

To break the record, the men will need to find a total time saving of 21 minutes while the women will need to find just over 18 minutes.

“For me, the climate is really important as it will allow for an incredibly fast bike leg where the most amount of time can be saved,” said Charles-Barclay.

“The calm water swim will also create an opportunity to start the challenge in the best possible way – fast – and that is what I want to do so I can not only beat Sub8, but also match the current men’s time of 7h21m.”

More information about the challenge can be found on the official Sub7/Sub8 website.

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Top image credit: Donald Miralle for Ironman