Four of the world’s fastest long-distance athletes, two men, two women, all vying to achieve the holy grail of Iron-distance racing – going sub 7hrs (for the men) and sub 8hrs (women). Here’s everything you need to know about the challenge to end all challenges…
What is the Sub7Sub8?
The challenge, sponsored by Zwift, will see Joe Skipper and Kristian Blummenfelt attempt to complete a long-distance triathlon (3.8km swim, 180km bike and 42.2km run) in under seven hours, while Kat Matthews and Nicola Spirig will try to break the eight-hour mark over the same distance.
The fastest Ironman time recorded in a race was recently set by Blummenfelt at Ironman Cozumel, with a jaw-dropping 7:21:12 that saw him beat the 7:27:53 registered by Jan Frodeno in his Tri Battle Royale with Lionel Sanders earlier this year.
You may have noticed, however, that this record’s still a substantial 21 minutes longer than what Skipper and Blummenfelt are aiming to achieve in Sub7. So how will the pair cut down that time? The athletes have huge teams to help pace the Sub7 bike leg and create the best race strategy.
Despite being Olympic and world champion, Blummenfelt thinks Skipper will keep him on his toes: “It’s not going to get easier with Joe. He has a better full-distance resumé and a higher world ranking than Alistair. I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
On the women’s side, Matthews seems confident she can achieve Sub8, despite only stepping in a few weeks ago after Lucy Charles-Barclay had to withdraw due to injury.
Where is Sub7Sub8 happening?
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. More details on the course can be found here.
Blummenfelt explains the reasoning behind choosing this venue in a recent Pho3nix Youtube video: “We need a super flat course especially for the bike and run, and also it’s an easy way for the pacers to jump in and out. It’s 5km around, super straight, simple.’
When is Sub7Sub8 taking place?
The challenge will take place on Sunday 5 June, with Monday 6 June as a back-up day if the Sunday’s forecasted for bad weather conditions (a final decision on the choice of day will be announced on Thursday 2 June).
Live broadcasting will start from the Dekra Lausitzring race track in northeast Germany at 6am local time (one hour ahead of the UK). Matthews and Spirig will set off at 7am, with Skipper and Blummenfelt starting an hour later at 8am.
If both pairs are successful in breaking their time goals, then the four athletes should be crossing the line very close together at 3pm.
How can I watch Sub7Sub8?
Sub7Sub8 will be available to watch for free during a 9.5hr live broadcast, which will include special guest appearances and some pre-recorded technical analysis.
Pho3nix says that ‘the live broadcast will be supported by a widely distributed one-hour highlights programme, which will tell the story purely from the athletes perspective and cover the full lead-up and race week experience.’
Mana Sports and Entertainment Group today announced Gravity Media as the broadcast partner for the Pho3nix Sub7 and Sub8 Project.
Mike Purcell, head of production for Gravity Media in Australia says “this innovative and gruelling triathlon world record event will be matched by our innovative broadcast technology to engage fans through interactivity and immersion by being put in the athletes’ shoes through backstories and on-screen race data analytics.”
What are the rules of Sub7Sub8?
Top image credit: Delly Carr/Getty Images