Finishing an iron distance race under 17 hours is already a huge accomplishment for many athletes. Competing at the pointy end takes it to another level, much more to win a world championship. But why would anyone target sub-7 hours without a title on the line?
For Alistair Brownlee and Kristian Blummenfelt, the Sub7 Project is a unique opportunity to explore the limits of human endurance, bring the sport of triathlon to the world, and inspire a new generation to go for their dreams.
The idea for the attempt originated with Brownlee, who was inspired by the sub-2 hour marathon attempts in years past. “I think it’s 99% impossible and 1% possible and I’m gonna make sure I do everything I can to do it in that 1%,” he says.
Blummenfelt notes, “A lot of people say it’s impossible to go Sub7. I disagree. I think the reason why I’m in sport in the first place is because I love to prove people wrong and show that impossible is possible.”
Their reasons for signing on go beyond personal achievement. Already champions and achievers in their own right, they want to see the sport they love grow. “Big challenges like this demonstrate what’s possible, and to really show anyone where the horizons are and what you can achieve is a fantastic thing for the sport of triathlon,” says Brownlee.
“The whole concept of the Sub7 Project and the Pho3nix Foundation is to inspire the next generation. I can remember back when I was a little kid looking up to my big idol and getting inspired by him. If I can do something similar with the next generation, it will be huge,” Blummenfelt adds.
Brownlee knows the Sub7 Project can speak to people beyond the sport of triathlon. “I realised just after the Olympics in 2012, which were almost a decade ago now that I was in a very lucky position to be able to inspire and motivate people to do sport, activity, and go out to set goals and achieve them,” he says.
“It would mean a lot to me to have young people come up to me and say what I did on a day inspired them to change their lives. Maybe not triathlon, maybe it’s another sport or something in the arts or music, it doesn’t really matter. My message has always been – find what you enjoy, find what you’re good at and dedicate yourself to it.”