Mark Allen: Sub7Sub8 amazing, but Laura Philipp is the weekend MVP

We had a terrific weekend of Ironman distance triathlon racing in Germany, and I wanted to give you my thoughts on what happened both at Sub7Sub8 and IRONMAN Hamburg.

Of course the Sub7Sub8 project was going to be super-fast because it was four athletes who each had a team of 10 helping them through the distance.

Kristian Blummenfelt clocked 6:44 and change – he broke 7 hours for the men. Kat Matthews 7:31 and change, breaking 8 hours for the women.


Let me back up for a moment – a few months ago I made my predictions on what I felt the men and women could do in that race. I said the men I think can go 6:33, and the women I think can go 7:33. Kat Matthews went 7:31:54, basically she beat my prediction by one minute. I thought I did good on that one!

Kristian was about 11 minutes slower than I thought the men could go, but I also thought that wasn’t his best race – even though it was completely impressive. He ran a 2:30:50 marathon – he was predicting he could run a 2:25. He was already five minutes slower than what he predicted he could do comfortably. Also the swim was a little bit slower.

Kat Matthews – amazing – 7:31:54 for the women. Kristian Blummenfelt 6:44. Both men went under 7 and both women went under 8. Pretty impressive.

IRONMAN Hamburg analysis

But, my most excellent award for the weekend 100 percent goes to Laura Philipp. She won IRONMAN Hamburg, and do you know what her time was? 8:18:20, let that sink in for a minute – 8:18:20.

That’s only seven seconds slower than the world’s best for an Ironman distance triathlon that Chrissie Wellington set in 2011 at Challenge Roth, and there’s always a little question about the full accuracy of the course there.

But regardless, seven seconds off of what Chrissie did, that time was unbelievable. Let me give you some perspective on that.

She ran a 2:45:39 marathon – her marathon time was faster by around 30 seconds than Kat Matthews went in the Sub7Sub8 project and Kat had assistance the entire way through. Laura Philipp did it all on her own. Her marathon was faster, her swim was faster. You can’t compare the bikes, because you just can’t compare then.

Let me give you another perspective too.

I won the IRONMAN World Championship six times. Laura’s time in Hamburg would have beat me in three of those IRONMAN World Championships in Kona. Her time was faster than I went in three of my victories at the IRONMAN World Championship in Hawaii.

Yeah it’s not apples for apples, the course, the whole thing. But regardless – unbelievable! Laura Philipp, my hats off to you – amazing race, amazing performance.

Sub7Sub8 project – amazing races, amazing performances. What a summer we have going already…

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