Ironman: Brownlee Sub7, Spirig/Charles-Barclay Sub 8


Sub 2, Sub 7, Sub 8

Just like the recent successful Sub2 marathon by Eliud Kipchoge, I predict that Spirig (easily) & Brownlee will beat their respective Sub7 and Sub8 hour targets for an Ironman at some time in 2022. I’m less sure if Blummenfelt and Charles-Barclay will do the deed.

Current Record

I think the current records are J Frodeno 7:35:39 and C Wellington 8:08:13

Wiki: Ironman

Wiki: Challenge

Superficially, the Sub7 and Sub8 challenges seem impossible when you look a the best times ever. And the records are times not even achieved by those attempting to set the new mark.

Why do I think the records will fall?

Well, I’m pretty confident the women’s record will fall if the weather is good. Ms Spirig is way too good not to do this and her challenge is easier in relative terms.

These record attempts are going to be made essentially with no rules and with the sole purpose of getting one person to go as fast as possible over an Iron-distance course

  • Course selection: This will make a significant difference to the times. A flat, smooth, sheltered and perfectly-distanced car race-track will save many minutes. If we’re getting silly, why not a lake swim in the mountains followed by a nice long downhill descent to a flat marathon run finish?
  • Time of year: A range of dates with favourable weather conditions will help too.
  • Wetsuit: Apparently extra buoyant wetsuits are planned
  • Swim drafting: An awesome pack of quality open water swimmers can perfectly pace one man/woman better than in a normal race
  • Bike Support: Lots of domestiques will help lighten the physical load a little
  • Two perfectly situated, short transitions with no need to worry about helmets being stashed in the right place and nor getting a bike off a rack (someone will hold it at the T1 mount line)
  • Running: We know how to organise support runners to get someone around a marathon course in the optimal time. The trick will be to get them to slow down to Brownlee/Spirig/Charles’ paces as the latter are going to be tired!
  • Bike Drafting & organisation: this is where it will be made or lost. The bike (frame) itself will be of little consequence compared to the quality of cyclists around each of those attempting the record. Multiple Groups of fresh, well-organised cyclists will achieve significant speeds for the person they are pulling along. The pacers don’t necessarily have to swim or run and can also have the latest skinsuits and helmets. In fact, each of those attempting the record could have two packs of cyclists to help them who can rest periodically as the other group takes charge for a lap. In such conditions, you and I could probably do close to a sub4 hour 100-mile ride, these guys will go faster still. Much faster. (4 hours is the current best IM bike time from Texas, IM bike is longer than 100 miles ie 112-miles). Or they could use a car for pacing/pulling just like in the recent sub-2 hour marathon event.
  • Velodrome or following a car? Tricky call but just imagine following a car/van at 35mph with a great big, square timer creating a huge hole in the air to suck you along.
  • Tri-tech…lol. No. They won’t need that, they’ll just follow the person/vehicle in front like we all do in a regular race! Just that they’ll be following someone very closely and going significantly faster than we do! Of course, they WILL have some tech as that will attract significant sponsorship money.


Brownlee’s Challenge

He would be aiming for something like this

  • 45-minute swim (he can do that),
  • 3:39 bike (31mph), and
  • 2:35 run (his IM PR is 2:43, that’s a big ask unless he is fresh…after cycling at 31mph 😉 )
  • T1/T2 0:01
  • Ttl 7:00 – His current PR is 7:45

Other than course/date selection, I think one of the biggest problems for 4 people attempting the record on the same day will be to get enough athletes & gear to help. I reckon the 4 challengers will need at least 40 cyclists in total if they are not using a car for pacing…and that won’t be cheap. Then there are the swimmers and runners too, that’s another 40. They need spare athletes and they can’t risk any kind of fatigue in the pacers.

Once the costs of doing this start to mount they will compromise on the optimal setup of the event…THAT is why they might fail. #NoCompromises.




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