Ironman 70.3 world record holder Kristian Blummenfelt will put his speed to the test over twice the distance in 2022. The Norwegian has signed on to the Sub7 Project and will not only seek to break the current iron distance world record, but to go under seven hours – a mark conventional wisdom considers impossible.
But then, “impossible” is not in Blummenfelt’s vocabulary; the Norwegian has a habit of defying expectations. One of the first athletes to come out of Norway’s youth national program, the 26 year old made the Olympics four years earlier than planned in Rio. A World Triathlon Series regular, he is rarely outside of the Top 5 and delivered on his promise with a breakthrough win in the WTS Grand Final in Lausanne in 2019.
He goes pedal-to-the-metal, no-holds-barred, and every bit of exertion shows on his face. His massive engine, a capacity to train up to eight hours daily, and a no-fear personality has taken Blummenfelt from obscurity to the exulted position of world’s fastest over the 70.3 distance and a legitimate contender for Olympic gold.
When asked if going under seven hours over the iron distance was possible, without hesitation Blummenfelt replied that it was.
“The Sub7 project will raise the Ironman racing we see today to another level. It’s a huge advantage for me to be able to take part in this project. It is the biggest task you can challenge yourself with, shaving more than 35 minutes off the current fastest time over the distance. Luckily we have well over a year to plan this race, ‘cause that’s where I think my team will give me that advantage come race day.
We haven’t dug too deep into the numbers yet, but just to break the seven hours, it takes at least a 45-minute swim, 3:45 bike and finishing off with a 2:30 marathon. This is even without taking the transitions in consideration.
I reckon the swim is quite ‘safe’. It’s not too much time to gain or lose. But the 180-kilometre bike is where the race will be lost or won, I think. To ride this fast, and at the same time have enough energy for the marathon, we need to optimise every little element. All from equipment, pacing strategy within my team, training my team so they will be able to ride fast enough in the front, and obviously optimising the nutrition.
We need to take all the science we know today, and take it one step further. And if I’m fresh enough off the bike, I think, based on the testing we have done in the laboratory already, that a 2:20 marathon is possible.”