Challenge Family announced today at a media conference on the shores of Kona that they have signed a 10 year agreement with Chris McCormack. This is a partnership that will benefit both parties extensively. For Macca this sets him up for the next ten years in the sport (and beyond). For Challenge Macca’s pull and following is going to aid in their expansion around the world and in particular in to North America. Ultimately this relationship could open up the doors for Macca’s dream of providing coaching advice to triathletes.
Macca was in fine form laying down the challenges to the younger pro triathletes. He wants them to step up to the plate and try to bring him down in the Challenge races. He said also that he wants to leave a an eternal taunt to a few guys like Peter Reid left for him. He was never able to beat Reid and that stays with him always.
Macca first raced Challenge Roth (which has now been running for 25 years) 10 years ago. He had watched Roth in 1997 when he had been in Europe with the Australian triathlon team. He rented a car and drove to Roth and watched Luc Van Lierde break the world record. “I was a spectator that day and I was a geek of the sport. Roth was a race I had followed and read abou tin the magazines. I was at the point where Luc Van Lierde ran past Jurgen Zack. I saw that and said ‘Man, I have never seen a crowd in like this and an atmosphere like that’. I vowed I would come back and race it and I did 6 years later. I was invited to race by Felix’s Father, Herbert to come and race and take on a race legend in Lother Leder. It was the beginning of Challenge. Lother and I had one of my most memorable battles and it came down to a sprint finish.”
Macca swore he had to win the race. He came back and eventually beat Leder and also the magical 8 hour mark at Roth. Still to this day Roth holds a very special place for Macca.
Read the media release below…
The partnership will see McCormack acting both as an ambassador for the long distance triathlon race series and becoming an integral part of the Challenge Family development as it enters its most significant growth phase in the history of the organisation.
The family-owned Challenge series has grown from the iconic Challenge Roth, which McCormack won four times from 2004 to 2007, to feature 12 long distance races and triathlon festivals over three continents. Challenge Roth itself is now the world’s largest long distance triathlon with over 5,000 competitors.
Following on from its long awaited entry into the North American market with Challenge Penticton this year, Challenge Family will look to expand its presence in Europe, North America and Australasia over the next 12 months as well as well introduce new markets to the Challenge race experience. The partnership with McCormack will play a key role in this development as Macca the athlete and Macca the brand become integrally linked with Challenge to deliver a new standard in long-distance triathlon.
The partnership was born out of a mutual desire to deliver a powerful legacy for the sport that returned the focus to the athletes, delivering a premium race experience at every level with a commitment to building the sport from the grass roots up as well as establishing sustainable relationships at the pro athlete level.
“I’m excited about this next phase in my career,” said McCormack. “I love what Challenge do, I love their DNA and core values which exactly echo my hopes for the future of the sport. My vision is to grow Challenge and the Macca brand inline with the things we hold valuable in this sport. Embracing its history, the lifestyle and the people who participate, family involvement and activity, health and the desire to play and have fun in multisport. I intend to hold true to our focus on quality and persistence and staying true to our vision.”
Challenge Family CEO, Felix WalchshÃ¶fer, said he was delighted both personally and professionally to build on a partnership with McCormack that started 10 years ago at Challenge Roth. “Macca first raced with us in Roth in that unforgettable year (2003) that saw him racing to the wire with Lothar Leder. He didn’t win that race but he came back and won the next four! During that time I got to know him, not just as an incredible athlete but also as an outstanding ambassador for our sport. To have him as a true member of the Challenge Family, doing so many of our races and helping the brand grow in new and emerging markets is a massive step forward for the Challenge Family as a whole.
“Challenge Family races are renowned for their unique races experiences and strong support of the athletes, whether a pro or first time age grouper. We invest literally and emotionally in being an integral part of the athletes’ journey, from the time they make the decision to race with us to the time we personally welcome them across the finish line. With his unrivalled passion and dedication to the sport, Macca will add a new dimension to this journey for all Challenge athletes and we very much look forward to having him as part of the team.”
As well as racing at a number of Challenge Family events, McCormack will also play a high profile role through Challenge Family’s social media channels providing Challenge athletes with the opportunity to communicate with him directly, learning race specific tips, training advice and tricks of the trade from the best. He will also sit on two key Challenge advisory boards dedicated to ensuring a premium athlete race experience as well as take part in events with meet-and-greet at the expos and welcoming athletes across the finish line.