At last, the date is set, and Pho3nix Foundation Sub7Sub8 Project is officially on as the countdown begins to one of the year’s most hyped triathlon events.
Kristian Blummenfelt, Alistair Brownlee, Nicola Spirig and Kat Matthews will take centre stage on June 5-6, 2022 as the eyes of the triathlon world focus on the Dekra Lausitzring near Dresden in Germany.
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 Ironman 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 Ironman 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.
Date & Time: When and where does it take place?
The event will take place on June 5 and 6, 2022 with exact timings to be confirmed, with start times flexible for optimal weather conditions.
It is likely the event will take place on June 5, with June 6 as a fallback in case of bad weather.
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.
How to watch Sub7Sub8 live on TV
Sub7Sub8 will be broadcast and streamed live globally, and exact details of timings and channels will be released closer to race day.
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.
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.
And no fewer than eight bike pacers have been named by both Team Brownlee and Blummenfelt – with each featuring a heavy UK time trial influence, full details are here.
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.