With only four weeks to go until the Pho3nix Sub7 and Sub8 Project, Powered by Zwift, Sub7 athlete Kristian Blummenfelt and Sub8 athlete Kat Matthews came out in fighting form to shape the men’s and women’s races at the Ironman World Championship at St. George, Utah.
Blummenfelt claimed his first Ironman world title to add to his already-glittering collection of an Olympic gold medal and a World Triathlon championship. In what was only his second race over the full distance of triathlon – 3.8 kilometres swim, 180 kilometres bike, and 42 kilometres run – Blummenfelt’s winning time of 7:49:16 broke the existing St. George course record by 43 minutes.
This has also made Blummenfelt the first athlete ever to win an Olympic gold medal, a World Triathlon Championship, and an Ironman World Championship in less than 12 months.
Comparing his Olympics and Ironman World Championship campaigns, he says, “Eight hours versus 1:45 is one thing, but also the Olympics was 10 years of build up. This was one year, and also we have two chances this year and the Olympics you only have one every four years. It’s great to have been able to have done it all now.”
Matthews’ long-delayed debut in an Ironman World Championship race finally came to pass, with the European champion battling four-time world champion Daniela Ryf over the bike leg and holding off reigning world champion Anne Haug on the marathon to claim the second-highest step on the podium.
“I smiled at one point whilst I had a moment of realisation that I was racing at the front of the Ironman World Championship with Daniela on the bike and we were pulling away. It was incredible!” Matthews said.
She added, “I turned the pressure into confidence. It meant it wasn’t just me saying, ‘yeah, I’m going to go win the World Ironman Championship’… Instead it was other people thinking I can do this. So, I [said] I’m going to give it a go.”
The focus for them now will be to recover properly and stay in peak condition to race the full distance again on June 5. Next time, the goal is not merely to win, but to be the first to go Sub7 and Sub8.