Markus Fachbach (GER) and Kathrin Walther (GER) win Challenge Almere-Amsterdam

AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS - SEPTEMBER 12:  Kathrin Walther of Germany wins the womens event during the Challenge Triathlon Amsterdam on September 12, 2015 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. (Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images for Challenge

12 SEPTEMBER 2015 – Markus Fachbach (GER) and Kathrin Walther (GER) have taken victory at CHALLENGE ALMERE-AMSTERDAM today, after exciting racing in the polders of Flevoland. Fachbach was followed closely by Dutch favourite Mark Oude Bennink throughout nearly the entire race. Walther switched positions throughout the day with Camille Deligny (FRA). Irene Kinnegim (NED) eventually came second after a thrilling finish. 

After a fast swim, Fachbach and Oude Bennink started the bike section together. The Hungarian Attila Szábo was also initially part of the lead group, but soon had to let the German and Dutch athletes go. Behind them, Erik-Simon Strijk (NED) quickly took third place in the race, which he wouldn’t relinquish, not even when fast runners Gerrit Schellens (BEL) and Dirk Wijnalda (NED) tried to overtake him. Fachbach and Oude Bennink continued running side by side, but eventually Bennink had to give up the fight and Fachbach successfully defended his title from 2014, when he became European Champion in Almere. This year he improved his time by 16 minutes, taking the title in 8:12:24. 

Afterwards, the German confessed that he had a difficult race against Bennink, but explained his victory by making an analogy with football: Germans strike home at the end of the race!

In the women’s race, rookie long-distance athlete, Linda van Bemmel from Almere, led the race out of the water and onto the bike but was overtaken by Walther after 40km. Deligny passed her shortly after as well. Deligny slowly but steadily advanced on Walther, and overtook her near the finish of the bike course. Walther had the fastest transition and gained on Deligny again, after which Deligny started her pursuit and overtook Walther 3km into the run. Meanwhile, Irene Kinnegim started an impressive marathon to catch up to Walther and Deligny. But the former champion had to relinquish the title to Walther with a deficit of just over a minute but still took the Dutch National Championships title with Deligny rounding off the podium.

This year marked the 35th year of triathlon in Netherlands. Since 1983, the start and finish have taken place in Almere making CHALLENGE ALMERE-AMSTERDAM is the oldest triathlon in Europe. This weekend, over 2500 athletes competed in several races, confirming CHALLENGE ALMERE-AMSTERDAM’s position as the largest triathlon event in Dutch history.

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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.