After all the months of waiting the Pho3nix Foundation Sub7Sub8 Project is almost here, with four elite athletes looking to write a new chapter into the triathlon history books.
Skipper and Matthews of course come in as replacements for the injured Alistair Brownlee and Lucy Charles-Barclay.
Here is all you need to know about triathlon’s most-hyped event of 2022 so far.
Start time & watch live
Sub7Sub8 will be broadcast and streamed live globally on Sunday June 5, with the broadcast available both on YouTube and Facebook.
The broadcast is set to get under way at 0630 local time (0530 UK, 0030 Eastern Time) and you can watch it right here by clicking on the video embed below:
You can also follow our live blog (with the live stream included) throughout the day.
The women’s race will start first – at 0700 local time (0600 in the UK, 0100 Eastern Time in the United States. The men’s race will start one hour later at 0800 local time (0700 UK, 0200 ET).
As for the broadcast team, that is now official with ‘voice of Super League Triathlon’ Will McCloy and American great Craig Hummer handling play-by-play duties.
Color commentary will come from Chris McCormack, Vicky Holland and cycling star Robbie McEwen.
They’ll now be joined in the booth by the unfortunate Alistair Brownlee and Lucy Charles-Barclay.
What is Sub7Sub8?
Exactly what it says on the tin. Two male athletes will attempt to become the first ever to go under seven hours for an iron distance race. The fastest time to date is 7:21:12, clocked by Blummenfelt on his full-distance debut at IRONMAN Cozumel in November 2021.
Meanwhile, two women will attempt to become the first ever to go under eight hours for the iron distance. The fastest time to date is Chrissie Wellington’s 8:18:13 – set at Challenge Roth in 2011.
It is worth remembering that while the clock is the focus for this event, we do have two races as well. As Blummenfelt has already said, nobody wants to go Sub7 or Sub8 and finish second…
For reasons we will explain when we get on to the rules for Sub7Sub8, the final times will not be classed as records. This event is really designed to bring mainstream coverage to the sport of triathlon and put the focus on what data and science can help the athletes achieve.
Where does Sub7Sub8 take place?
The venue is the DEKRA Lausitzring, which is a famous motor racing circuit located near Klettwitz in the state of Brandenburg in northeast Germany. It lies near the borders of Poland and the Czech Republic.
What are the rules for Sub7Sub8?
So this is the bit which has split the triathlon community – some love the idea, some hate it.
Each athlete can pick up to 10 pacers to aid them on race day and they can be deployed however the athlete sees fit across the three disciplines. Updated start lists are here.
Drafting is allowed with the biggest gains for athletes expected on the bike leg, with significant help provided by the pacers. There are no restrictions on the bike equipment to be used, other than no mechanical propulsion is permitted.
The swim will take place in Lake Senftenberg, which is a 1,300-hectare man-made lake some 10 kilometers away from Dekra Lausitzring. The size of the lake facilitates a straight point-to-point swim course to minimise turns and maximise speed.
The men and women will begin at different times, delivering two separate head-to-head races.
From Lake Senftenberg the athletes will navigate the 10km course taking advantage of prevailing and historical wind conditions on fast open German roads to blast onto the Lausitzring’s 5.85km Test Oval, which is the main course for the bike and run legs.
The Test Oval, which has long straight stretches and no dead or slow speed turns, will enable the athlete’s support teams (pacers) to swap in and out with ease. The potential for significant gains is greatest over this 180-kilometre bike leg.
The athletes will need to achieve an average pace of 45-50 kph, similar to that of a Tour de France time-trial stage. Put into context, the men’s UCI hour record is 55km and the women’s is 48km.
The run will be conducted completely within the Dekra Lausitzring High Speed Oval with athletes running in an anti-clockwise direction on the 5.8km loops.
The track provides easy entry/exit of the support athletes during the race, and the closed venue ensures no risk of disruption to the race. Like the bike leg, the run course is looped with no dead or slow-speed turns to navigate.