Mark Allen doesn’t just believe a triathlete will succeed in going Sub7 this summer, it’s merely a question of by how far. And he has an astonishing projection to share.
The six-times Kona king thinks either Alistair Brownlee or Kristian Blummenfelt could go as low as an astonishing 6:33 for the full distance with the help of pacers when the much-hyped event takes place. And he provided a detailed take on why, and how, it can be done.
Speaking on his ‘Mondays With Mark Allen’ YouTube series, he said: “I love this idea to see what can be done. You might be thinking ‘Sub7, that’s gonna be tough, Sub8, that’s gonna be tough’.
“Let me just step back for one minute and make a huge prediction. Both of those times are going to be blown away. Let me just talk about the men’s today, I’m going to be talking a lot about this over the next few months, because it’s so complex and there are so many factors involved.
How to do a Sub7 Ironman
“I was thinking about it. If I was trying to go under 7 hours for an Ironman, I would try to swim around 45 minutes, I would try to bike around 3:45, and that leaves me two-and-a-half hours to run a marathon. Do I think those are possible? I think they are more than possible.”
Utilising the pacers
“You have 10 pacers you can use, and they can be utilised in any way you want. I would have three people helping me on the swim, making a little triangle – I could slide right in there. I would have four others helping me on the bike, and I’d probably have three more on the marathon.
“The bike, you have four, you can do a lot of pacelining, three on the marathon – you only need two, but really three because one of them is probably not going to have the ideal day to lead you to the marathon split you need.”
Sub7 splits – Swim
“Let’s look at Jan Frodeno’s Tri Battle Royale Iron distance world record of 7:27. He did that without any assistance. He did a swim of basically 46 minutes. If you just add let’s say 2-3 seconds per 100m of advantage that an athlete is going to get in the Sub7 Project, that takes a minute-and-a-half off that time. So in theory, somebody could easily go around 44:30 – under that 45-minute ideal that I think you need.
“Look at Alistair Brownlee’s split in the Olympics in 2012 – he went about 17 minutes. At that pace, if you add let’s say that 3 seconds per 100 onto that time and expand it out to an Ironman swim, that’s going to be about 45 minutes. The swim is going to be tight but probably within that range that’s going to be ideal to break 7 hours.”
Sub7 splits – Bike
“Jan Frodeno, in that Tri Battle Royale, he averaged 28.7 miles per hour, that’s fast, on his own. You add in a paceline which adds one mile faster per hour onto Jan Frodeno’s split that he did alone, they ride 3:42 – under that 3:45 that you need.
“If you go two miles per hour faster drafting off other riders – and that’s the minimum they say you’ll gain – that puts the bike split at 3:24. That gives you a 21-minute advantage on the marathon – meaning if you run something like a 2:49, you’re gonna break 7 hours.”
Sub7 splits – Run
“Let me go back to when I was racing. I raced the Nice International Triathlon – it was a 20-mile run. A number of years, I ran 60 minutes on the way out and 55 minutes on the way back. Six minutes per mile on the way out, five-and-a-half on the way back.
“If you just average that out and expand it out to a marathon, that’s 5:45 pace. That’s 2:30 for the marathon – spot on, especially if the bike ride is faster than 3:45. If you can actually hold a 5:30 pace through that entire marathon, which I think is possible, you’re gonna run a 2:24.
“In the ideal, somebody could go – if you add it all up – 6:33 for an Ironman distance race.
“You might think I’m crazy, but I don’t. And I think Alistair Brownlee or Kristian Blummenfelt, one of those guys has a chance of going that fast and blowing everybody away on what human beings can do for an Ironman distance race.”
What is Sub7Sub8?
The Pho3nix Foundation Sub7Sub8 Project is set to take place in the summer of 2022 (date and venue to be announced imminently).
Alistair Brownlee and Blummenfelt will bid to go under 7 hours for an Ironman distance race.
Meanwhile Lucy Charles-Barclay and Nicola Spirig will bid to go under 8 hours for an Ironman distance race.