Olympic champion Kristian Blummenfelt and Kat Matthews make triathlon history

Norwegian Olympic gold medallist Blummenfelt became the first man to go sub seven hours in the men's full-distance triathlon race, while Britain's Kat Matthews became the first woman to go sub eight.

By Ash Tulloch
Picture by 2021 Getty Images

Olympic gold medallist Kristian Blummenfelt became the first man to complete a full-distance triathlon in under seven hours at the Sub 7/Sub 8 event in Brandenberg, Germany crossing on Sunday (5 June).

Earlier in the day, British army captain Kat Matthews became the first woman to complete the distance in under eight hours, clocking 7:34:19.

The event, created to achieve exactly these feats, allowed athletes to use pacers to cover the full 'iron-distance ' triathlon, which involves a 3.8km swim, 180km bike and 42.4km run. These special conditions are not allowed in standard non-drafting Ironman races.

Racing in hot conditions, Norwegian reigning world champion Blummenfelt crossed the line in 6:44:25.

"Oh that was tough. Even just sitting back there on the bike, the guys were pushing so hard. We rode so well and came off the bike so well. Whew, we did it," the 28-year-old said after.

"Two years of planning to put together a team. Its all crucial to have a great team. You saw the team I put together. They even has us ride faster than we planned."

The race saw him going head-to-head with fellow endurance star Joe Skipper to head to break the mythical seven hour mark.

Remarkably it was only a week ago that Skipper agreed to take part, after two-time Olympic champion Alister Brownlee pulled out injured. Skipper also broke the 7-hour barrier, crossing in 6:47:36.

Kat Mathews smashes 8 hour barrier

In the women's race, Matthews raced against London 2012 Olympic champion Nicola Spirig.

The British servicewoman, with the assistance of 10 pacers, Chrissie Wellington's record set in 2011.

Speaking after the race, Matthews said

"I'm feeling a whole load of emotions, but the main one in gratitude for the whole team around me. Honestly of all the triathlons of the whole world, this is about the team. I felt like I was letting them down all day. I was hitting the limit and I thought I was going to loose it but the support on the sideline that gave me the motivation to push on."

With 14km from the finish line Swiss veteran Spirig passed Mathews but only 3km later, Mathews re-passed and could not be caught.

"She came past 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, yes I can." - Kat Mathews.

Spirig came home in 7:34:19.

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