Joe Skipper and Kat Matthews both make history with Sub 7 and Sub 8 attempts


Kat Matthews became the first woman to complete the ironman distance in under eight hours, making history by going under the eight-hour mark by over 28 minutes, while Joe Skipper succeeded in his sub seven-hour attempt at The Pho3nix Sub7 and Sub8 Project, powered by Zwift.

Titled the Sub7 and Sub8 Project because of the time marks they were aiming to beat, Matthews completed the 3.8km swim, 180km bike and 42.2km run in 07:31:54, finishing ahead of 2012 Olympic champion Nicola Spirig (SUI) as both athletes went sub eight.

Speaking to Pho3nix Foundation after her history-making performance, Matthews said: “I’m feeling a whole load of emotion right now, but the main one is gratitude to the team around me. Honestly, of all the triathlons in the whole world, this is about the team. It was their strength on the sideline that gave me the motivation to push on.

“At 5k into the run, Mark, my husband was like ‘you’re so good at finishing strong’ and I was like ‘Mark, I just want to finish right now. She [Spirig] came passed and I was completely expecting her to fly through and it was one of those moments where someone said, ‘you can’ and I was like ‘I can’. I was just steady, and I had a bit more to give at the end even though it hurt more.”

Joe Skipper also made history, breaking the seven-hour barrier by over 12 minutes as he crossed the line in 06:47:36 as both the five-time IRONMAN winner and Olympic and IRONMAN world champion Kristian Blummenfelt of Norway celebrated becoming the first two athletes to cover the distance in under seven hours.

After going sub seven hours, Skipper, who only received the call-up to race a week before due to Alistair Brownlee’s withdrawal due to injury, said: “The team were awesome. All week we were practicing race pace efforts, getting a feel for it. They couldn’t have done anymore; we did the best we could.

“In the race, on the bike we took it to Kristian as best we could. It was a shame I lost a bit more time in the swim than what I’d hope. But we did a really good bike, quicker than what we were hoping for and then on the run, I was just hoping he was going to blow [up] to be honest, after he caught me, but he didn’t.

“It’s probably the best long course experience I’ve ever had. It was amazing being part of the team, flying around 180km at 55kph was incredible.”

This unique event, which was centred around the Dekra Lausitzring motor racing circuit near Dresden, Germany, saw each of the four triathletes supported by a pacing team of up to 10 athletes who were deployed across the three disciplines and, unlike usual IRONMAN racing, drafting was allowed.

To find out more about Pho3nix Sub7 and Sub 8 Project, powered by Zwift, please visit

(Image: Pho3nix Foundation)

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