Rasmus Petraeus and Caroline Steffen victorious in KMD Challenge Aarhus Half

Rasmus Petraeus pulled off a small upset at the inaugural KMD Challenge Aarhus today. The heavy favourites was Rasmus Henning and Martin Jensen, but unfortunately for Rasmus Henning he had to pull out of the race after the swim with the same (and unexplainable) heavy cramping he experienced in Abu Dhabi in March.

The race should be open for Martin Jensen to run away with the win, but 21 year old Rasmus Petraeus had his running legs working well for him in this race and slowly reeled in the heavy bikers on the hilly and scenic run through downtown and the arts museum ARoS.

He finished the half iron-distance race in 3:48:18 (the swim was shortened to 1,000 metres due to a water temperature of 13,8. Danish rules state that no open water swim longer than 1,000 metres is legal with a temperature of under 14 degrees celcius.)

“It seems a bit unreal right now that I have won the race, but I’m really happy to have established my name now and proven Rasmus Henning and Martin Jensen and the rest of the Danish triathlon community that I’m one to look out for. I like the role of underdog. Last year I won the Danish long distance championships but neither Martin Jensen nor Rasmus Henning was there. Today both of them were at the starting line with me, but I crossed the finish line first. I had been hoping for a bit more competition from them, but now it just feels great to have done this,” the happy winner said.

Jensen disappointed with another second place finish

Martin Jensen was very disappointed about his second place. He was the obvious candidate for the victory when Rasmus Henning had to pull out, and he really felt that he could win. Jensen was the second man out of the water after Rasmus Petraeus and also the second one coming in on the bike – this time after the über biker Björn Andersson.

“I started off the run quite well and knew that I could overtake Björn in the run at some point. I followed my strategy all the way, but after 16 km on the run, I just didn’t have more in me. Rasmus came from behind, and he really had good running legs today, so I just couldn’t keep up with him. I’m really disappointed about not winning today but in triathlon the strongest man wins and today that was Rasmus Petraeus,” Martin Jensen says.

Caroline Steffen took a fantastic win

The current ITU LD World Champion Caroline Steffen, Switzerland, had looked forward to test her form in KMD Challenge Aarhus today. The hilly and challenging bike course with many technical turns and the run through downtown Aarhus and the arts museum was a big experience for the Kona 2010 runner up.

She finished in a time of 4:04:16, 12 minutes ahead of swede Eva Nyström and the Danish champ on the distance Michelle Vesterby who was in third place a further minute and a half back.

Caroline Steffen:

“I really enjoyed the race today. It was fun to run around in the city centre and I also liked the stairs leading up to the arts museum. I alternately took one step with one leg and two with the other one. I stuck to my plan all during the race. I knew that Lucie Zelenkova is a really good swimmer, so I stuck to her but was unsure about my placement when coming out of the water. The bike course was technically challenging and varied which is just perfect for me. The run was not too hard, and I felt pretty good all the way and had good acceleration after every turn. It was my first Challenge race and I definitely liked it. The fact that they call it Challenge Family probably just makes it a bit more easy-going and fun.”

Michelle Vesterby:

“Challenge Aarhus was a really good race. I enjoyed it a lot and will definitely be back next year. However, I was a bit disappointed about not getting a 2nd place as I had been hoping for, but I simply could not keep up with Eva on the run. It was a shame for me that the swim was shortened as I usually create more distance to my competitors in that discipline. But I had a good rythm on the bike and actually also on the run; I stuck to my plan, but just could not keep up with Eva. She is a really solid runner, and I just did not have any more energy for the last round on the run, so she could easilly overtake me in the end. The run course was really tough – especially the second and third run up the stairs at ARoS were extremely hard.”

Eva Nyström:

“I actually only expected to make it to top-5, so I’m very happy to finish second. The shortened swim was good for me, but I didn’t really know my place after coming out of the water. On the bike course I passed three or four girls, but it wasn’t until the run that I realised I only had two people in front of me. I felt pretty good out there and enjoyed the race. The run course was not really hard, and I think the stairs leading up to the museum were a nice change.”

Beautiful debut in Aarhus

Today was the debut for KMD Challenge Aarhus and the stage had been set for a really exciting race – not least with a spectacular run course taking the athletes through the city centre including the local art museum ARoS. Due to low water temperature, the organisers had to rearrange the swimming by shortening the course 1.9 km to 1 km.

That changed the scene a bit and did not leave as big a gap between the athletes after the swim as usual on the half iron-distance. Rasmus Petraeus was the first athlete out of the water, but as Björn Andersson from Sweden is known as a muscle machine on the bike, he quickly took the lead. After 45 km he was leading by 4:30 minutes down to Emil Dalgaard and Martin Jensen.

After changing to his running shoes, Martin Jensen quickly overtook Emil Dalgaard and now slowly moved in on Björn Andersson. With about 7 km to go the race was as close as could be when Björn Andersson, Martin Jensen and now Rasmus Petraeus were running shoulder to shoulder in a crowded Ryesgade where the shops were open. Not long after Martin and Björn fell short of energy and left the stage open for Rasmus Petraeus to take the win.

 

 

Karl Hayes

Karl is a keen age group triathlete who races more than he trains. Good life balance! Karl works in the media industry in Australia and is passionate about the sport of triathlon.