The biggest triathlon party of the year will once again be celebrated at the Challenge Roth
On Sunday, July 7th, 3400 single starters and 650 relay teams from 84 different countries will start their Challenge Roth race at the Main-Donau-Canal near Hilpoltstein. The first ones as early as 6:30AM.
The number of nations marks a new record for the world’s biggest long-distance triathlon event.
CEO Felix Walchshöfer: “It is great to see from how many countries and from which countries our athletes are coming this year and all that in a small Franconian town like Roth.
Starter groups stacked with talent promise an exciting race
In the men’s field, there will be six of the top ten finishers from Hawaii. There are more than half a dozen of possible contenders for the podium. One of them, Bart Aeronauts of Belgium, already knows how it feels to win in Roth. In 2017, he was the first to cross the finish line at the Challenge Roth in Roth’s town garden.
The athlete, who finished second in Hawaii last year, would love to repeat this success, but knows that it won’t be easy: “I just want to enjoy Sunday’s competition and have a really good race from start to finish. I will need that if I want to reclaim my title from 2017. The competition is tough and it will be hard, but I love competing with the best.”
One of the best is Andreas Dreitz. In 2018’s Challenge Roth he finished second with a strong time of 7:53:06.
2019 he wants to stand on the podium again: “I had a good race last year, but there are some things I could have done better. That’s what I plan to do, while, at the same time, keeping in mind all the things I already did well last year.”
David McNamee of England, Braden Currie of New Zealand and Cameron Wurf of Australia, who finished 5th last year and set a new record on the bike course (4:05:37), also have ambitions regarding the first place.
On the long-distance track, McNamee is considered the fastest Briton and he’s looking forwards to start in Roth: “I always wanted to start in Roth. That’s what every triathlete in the world wants. I like competing with strong athletes and here I have the chance to compete with the strongest field outside of Hawaii.” Cameron Wurf used winter to work on his swimming and running form. He admits: “The race here last year opened my eyes and showed me that I have to work even harder. I not only want to be the strongest on the bike at long-distance, but the strongest all-around athlete.” For Braden Currie Sunday is about fun. “There is not too much pressure on me on Sunday and that’s always the best situation for me. It is a dream to be here.” And he admits: “Of course an even bigger dream would be winning it all.” That is also how Andreas Böcherer, who was voted a favorite to win this race by the readers of a triathlon magazine, sees it: “I feel honored by that vote, but I prefer to stand on top of the podium instead of getting early praise.” To end up on top of that podium he has a clear plan: “Swim first, then ride the bike, then run. And all that as fast as possible.” he says with a smile.
In the women’s field there will probably be a quartet fighting for victory. Experts think that Lucy Charles-Barcley (UK) will have the best chances to finish first after swimming for 3.8 km, riding the bike for 180 km and running 42.195 km. At Challenge Roth 2018, after an exciting race against Daniela Bleymehl (nee Sämmler) she celebrated a second place. The same place she finished in in Hawaii in 2018. “Last year after crossing the finish line, unfortunately I was on the wrong side of the nine second difference. Some things went wrong in my race in 2018 and I hope I can do those things better this time.” But Sarah Crowley of Australia, Rachel McBride of Canada and the local hero Anja Ippach, who spontaneously decided to start in this year’s race, won’t just turn over and let her have the victory.
Roth has been on Crowley’s to-do-list for a while. “This is the last big race I haven’t checked off yet.” she says. And she is looking forward to the great competition on Sunday. “The ultimate reason for doing this sport is to see how far you can push your limits and we push each other.”
Rachel McBride is especially excited about the fast bike course in Roth. “My main goal is to cross the finish line and to enjoy the incredible atmosphere there. And if I can get a place on the podium, even better.”
Anja Ippach decided very late to participate in her home town race. After falling out of the Ironman Ireland two weeks ago she was looking for something to make her feel good: “This race holds so many memories for me. Because of my spontaneous decision I don’t have any pressure and I’m not nervous.”
For the first time nine hours of live TV coverage
There is no doubt, this race, in the men’s field as well as in the women’s field, is going to be exciting. For all fans of triathlon who can’t be at the racetrack on Sunday: TV station Bayerische Rundfunk (BR), for the first time, brings nine hours of life coverage of Challenge Roth – a batch of honor for the biggest one day sports event in Bavaria.
For Steffen Lunkenheimer of BR, the live coverage is just the logical next step:
“We have been partnering with triathlon in Roth for years. In the last years the technical situation has improved in a way, that we are glad to tackle this project this year. Even though we are part of the coverage of the Olympic Games every two years, a live coverage as big as this one has never before happened on BR.”
Besides the live coverage on TV, there will be an international livestream online. This live stream will be hosted by Belinda Granger and Dirk Bockel.
The expected external conditions promise a great race on Sunday. After a heat wave in the last weeks, temperatures on the race day will be at around 22°. The water temperature at the moment is at 24.6°.