A 40 year-old mom has entered the history books by becoming the first female Olympian ever to complete a full triathlon in under 8 hours—smashing the world record by over 40 minutes.
Two-time Olympic Nicola Spirig crossed the finish line in Germany in an astonishing 7 hours, 34 minutes and 19 seconds.
She accomplished the feat despite earlier this year breaking three ribs, fracturing her collarbone and puncturing a lung in a cycling accident that almost ended her career. She recovered and went on to fulfill this lifelong triathlon ambition on the cusp of ending her 20+ years of international competition and retiring from the sport this year.
Her iconic legacy as a trailblazer in women’s sport and her climactic journey towards realizing an ultimate career goal is captured in a new film entitled Nicola’s Spirit released last week.
The unique Pho3nix Sub8 Project race in Germany on June 5 was organized specifically to pit two of the world’s greatest female triathletes against each other, in a challenge to break the 8-hour barrier. Both athletes broke the decade-long world record for women of 8:18:13. Not only did Nicola smash her personal record of 9 hours, 14 minutes and 7 seconds, the seven-time European Champion crossed the line in an epic 7:34:19— three minutes after Ironman champion (and non-Olympian) Kat Matthews, a British army captain.
Filmed on-location in her native Switzerland by Swiss sportswear company, On, the new documentary offers unprecedented insight in to the psyche and competitive spirit of a true champion.
“Nicola has defied the impossible and is the perfect embodiment of how the power of determination can overcome every obstacle towards fulfilling your dreams and ultimate ambition,” says Feliciano Robayna, Executive Producer and Head of Sports Marketing at On. “Realizing your career-long dream as a 40 year-old mother of three shows there is no barrier that cannot be broken.”
The five-minute film captures Nicola training against the stunning backdrop of the mountains of Gran Canaria, as she describes what Spirit means to her, and easily balances growing a family with her career ambitions and achievements.
The film features footage of her post injury treatment beginning just three months prior to competing at the Pho3nix Sub8 and culminates with Nicola making her long-awaited attempt to break the 8-hour barrier.
Beyond winning seven 70.3 Ironman titles—and being on the podium at each half Ironman race she has ever entered—she has also managed to study to become a lawyer.
Nicola also organizes the Kids Cup races for children throughout Switzerland, raising money to deliver to other kids more access to sports.