There is no greater challenge than chasing a record that people say is impossible, nor more rewarding when it is achieved. Those who dared proved the doubters wrong.
Four of the world’s greatest athletes have Defied the Impossible and set a new standard in human physical endurance. Over the full distance of triathlon, Olympic and world champion Kristian Blummenfelt and European champion Joe Skipper went under seven hours, while vice world champion Kat Matthews and Olympic gold and silver medalist Nicola Spirig went under eight hours at the Pho3nix Sub7 and Sub8 Project, Powered by Zwift on Sunday.
Working hand-in-hand with the Pho3nix Foundation, Mana Global Sports and Entertainment Group saw the development of the Sub7 and Sub8 through from a casual post-race dinner conversation to the behemoth endeavor it has become, with over 200 diverse staff and crew alongside the participating athletes descending upon the Dekra Lausitzring and the town of Senftenberg, Germany.
The nine-hour event was streamed live on the Pho3nix Foundation’s Youtube channel, with a peak of 28,880 concurrent viewers watching these champion athletes finish under goal time. With 202,300 logged views after 24 hours, the livestream is projected to exceed a quarter of a million views over the next week. It was also mirrored on Facebook, where it reached 174,438 views and 15,995 link clicks, with related social media post engagement logging a whopping 600% increase from baseline.
The Sub7 and Sub8 one-hour highlights package has been picked up for distribution to a potential 200 million viewers across Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East, the Caribbean and the Americas, bringing this trailblazing achievement to global recognition.
But even the mere idea of Defying The Impossible birthed achievements once thought unimaginable. In the two years since Sub7 and Sub8 was first announced, the men’s full distance world record fell twice and the once-untouchable women’s world record was nearly broken with seconds to spare.
Building brands, campaigns, and experiences people connect and care about is a passion at Mana Global. Led by CEO and two-time Ironman World Champion Chris McCormack alongside COO Wojciech Kruczynski and GM and Head of Events Trent Taylor, the Mana team is responsible for some of the most important innovations in triathlon including Super League Triathlon, the Bahrain Endurance 13 Team – and now the creation and delivery of Sub7 and Sub8.
Pho3nix Foundation chairman Sebastian Kulczyk says, “Without their help we wouldn’t be able to organise such a splendid event. And they are also the driving force behind the Phoenix Foundation. Whatever crazy ideas you’re going to see in the coming years, that’s probably going to be the three of us sitting somewhere and thinking, ‘What else can we do? There’s something crazy out there that we can try. And we’ll try to put [it] in motion, [bring it to] life.”
McCormack recalls the genesis of the project: a dinner conversation in Bahrain seated among big names in endurance sport including triathlon champions Daniela Ryf, Jan Frodeno, and Alistair Brownlee, Mo Farah the world’s most successful male track distance runner, and Mark Cavendish the greatest sprinter in the history of the Tour de France. “We were talking about originally breaking eight hours for the women. Was it possible? And the boys put their hands up and said, what about seven hours?… I think we were all moved by the fact that Mo Farah, who’s one of the greatest runners of all time, and Mark Cavendish suddenly got engaged in this conversation around our sport.
“We sat back and went, ‘Wow, you know, this is pretty cool.’ And Sebastian put his hand up and said, ‘Let’s do it… If that’s not possible, then that’s exactly at the core of why we should attempt. For some kid, swimming 50 metres is their impossible. For the world’s best athletes, this is theirs.’”
Mana Global is also present in the athlete management space, drawing on firm integrity and decades of experience to represent clients such as Rio Olympic bronze medallist Henri Schoeman, three-time paratriathlon world champion Lauren Parker – and the aforementioned Skipper and Matthews who were given first opportunity to step in and make history at Sub7 and Sub8 when Brownlee and Lucy Charles-Barclay were ruled out due to injury.
For McCormack, the strength of the agency comes from understanding how sports events work as an athlete. He says, “The proof’s in the pudding; we don’t cut corners, we put athletes first, and we’re boutique and flexible enough to give us the pivots that allow us to do crazy things and do them really well.
“That’s the biggest advantage we have within sport, and we’re expanding across more sports. We started in endurance because that’s where we came from but we’re moving into kids’ sports, football and boxing. We just enjoy what we’re doing. There’s a serious element, but the culture is pretty good within the organisation.
“We’ve come through a tough two years with COVID-19 but as we open up I hope we do more and more great things.”
With its unparalleled network and credentials in endurance sports innovation, Mana Global Sports and Entertainment Group is the prime turnkey solution for clients entering the wide world of sports and entertainment.