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Matthews smashes Sub8

British star continues impressive rise to the sport’s top ranks

Photo by: Kevin Mackinnon

She might have come to the Sub7/ Sub8 project as an alternate when Lucy Charles-Barclay was forced to pull out, but in the end Great Britain’s Kat Matthews turned out to be the fastest on the day, smashing the eight-hour barrier at Germany’s Dekra Lausitzring with a 7:31:54.

The times from the Sub7/ Sub8 Project can’t be ratified as records as the athletes were paced during all three portions of the event, but the goal of the event throughout was to simply see if the athletes could break the magical barriers. As predicted, the biggest gains came on the bike, with the athletes flying through the bike behind a huge train of cyclists ahead.

Matthews started the day with a 54:43 swim, coming out of the water seven seconds up on Nicola Spirig. The swim times were a bit slower than the athletes had anticipated for the point-to-point swim, likely due to a bit of a head wind that created a bit of current against them.

Matthews then rode behind her pace team to a 3:50:06 bike split, averaging 46.9 km per hour. Spirig rode 3:53:16 (46.3 km average), coming off the bike a bit over three minutes behind the British star.

Out on the run Spirig started averaging a pace about 10 seconds per km faster than Matthews, and took the lead for a short time with about 12 km of running to go, but shortly after the pass the Swiss Olympic gold and silver medalist started to fade, and Matthews surged back to the front of the race. She never looked back as she powered through the last 10 km of the run, finishing the marathon in 2:46:09, becoming the third-fastest ever over the distance with her 7:31:54.

Spirig suffered through the last part of the marathon, with her team hunting to find some Coke to get her through, but still finished in an impressive 7:34:19.