At age 40, a mother of three and a seasoned veteran, one may ask, what is “On” the feet of runner and world-class triathlete Nicola Spirig of Switzerland.

The clue is held within the question. She is wearing the shoes of Swiss shoe-market-disrupter On. A brand that has speedily entered into the athletic market with the big players.

Photo credit: On

On has signed athletes to represent the brand. Former Canadian marathon record holder — a very new mom — Rachel Cliff, and 2022 USATF 10,000m champion Joe Klecker are two athletes of note. Enter the latest athlete, Spirig.

She is a two-time Olympic medallist (earning gold in London 2012). She has dominated ITU Triathlon across the globe for more than 20 years. The inspiring journey of this triathlon legend will be told in a short film, scheduled for release in June. The movie follows Spirig’s colossal attempt to go sub-eight hours in the *Ironman distance and is anticipated to be the final race of her career.

*Ironman is a brand. There is no official record, but world’s best known time for an event involving the three disciplines over the same distances as the Ironman branded full triathlon.

The women’s record is 8:18:13 by Chrissie Wellington of Great Britain. She accomplished the feat in 2011.

The documentary

On, is presenting the documentary titled, “Nicola’s Spirit.” This is an original short written and directed by Simon Brotherson and produced by filmmaker, Andrew Telling. The documentary-style film gives viewers a personal perspective on Spirig’s rise to become one of the most accomplished, admired and celebrated triathletes of our age. Filmed on-location in Gran Canaria, Nicola’s Spirit apparently offers an intimate reflection and unprecedented insight in to the psyche and competitive spirit during her final year of competition.

Photo credit: On

The five minute film captures Spirig training against the stunning backdrop of the mountains of Gran Canaria, as she gives a heartfelt portrayal of what Spirit means to her personally. She provides an introspective understanding of her own mindset during race day, and her career-long ambition to be the best. The film shows her post injury treatment, after breaking three ribs, fracturing her collarbone and puncturing a lung. This all happened due to a bike crash. The crash happened three months prior to her attempt to be the first woman to complete a full distance triathlon in under eight hours in June this year.  Spirig describes her satisfaction in setting high, sometimes unreachable goals. This is where she may thrash her current personal best time of 9:14:07.

Nicola’s Spirit is about the legacy Nicola has left in the sport for future generations to learn from and hopefully follow,” says Feliciano Robayna, executive producer and head of sports marketing at On.

“Becoming a mother of three while continuing to fulfil her ambition as a champion shows a relentless strength and determination. As the final curtain closes on her 20-year career, Nicola is aiming to make the impossible possible at the Pho3nix Sub8 Project. The new short film serves as a mantle and testament to one of the most revered competitors and heroines of our time, while inspiring the next generation of athletes to find their true Spirit in the journey. Nicola is a shining example of what it means to push your limits while always remembering to enjoy the process.”

On has partnered with The Pho3nix Foundation, a non-profit organization created with the sole purpose of promoting physical activity as a way to improve health and wellbeing among children, with a particular focus on those in disadvantaged situations. The Foundation’s core mission is expressed in two parts: to create global initiatives which inspire, including the Sub7 and Sub8 attempts with the Pho3nix team of elite athletes, as well as to deliver local and regional programs that directly assist youth endeavor.

Her career

A triathlete since the age of 10, Spirig went on to become a two-time Olympic medallist, seven-time European Champion and Swiss Sportswoman of the Year in 2012. Her career speaks for itself.

During her career, she has also managed to become a lawyer and has a family with husband and Vice World Champion Reto Hug. In-between competing at elite European and global competitions. In 2019, the 37-year-old was back competing. At the ITU Hamburg World Cup, three weeks after giving birth, followed by the World Triathlon Series Grand Final held in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Spirig became the junior European and world champion, as well as winner of multiple ITU World Series and Half-Ironman races. In the 13 years from 1998 to 2010, Spirig took part in 72 ITU competitions and achieved 39 top 10 positions. Her career was strong. As Vice-World Champion and Team World Champion in 2010, then becoming a six-times European Champion (2009, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2018) as well as winning gold at the Ironman Cozumel in 2014 and at the European Games in 2015. Spirig has also won seven 70.3 Ironman titles, being on the podium at each half Ironman race she has ever entered. The Swiss star’s career also includes a 2:37:12 marathon and twice claimed second at the Zurich Marathon.

She is a three-time national 5000m champion.

Spirig’s sub-eight-hour attempt at the Pho3nix Sub8 Project will take place this Sunday, June 5th. Nicola’s Spirit presented by On can be seen from June 13th at on-running.com/nicolaspirit.

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