Endorsed by Chrissie Wellington as a test of mental and physical stamina, the inaugural Challenge Henley-on-Thames is shaping up to be an epic battle between Britain and Germany in the iron distance triathlon arena with an Australian hoping to upset both.
Winner of the 2011 Ironman UK in August Aaron Farlow will have his work cut out for him this weekend. In August Farlow backed up four days after the Alpe D’huez triathlon to win IM UK. This time he is going in to Challenge Henley-on-Thames maybe slightly more fatigued after coming second at Ironman Wales last weekend. “It has been a busy few weeks since IM UK! I went back to Australia for a week to spend some time with my family and celebrate my son’s first birthday and Christening then came back over to get through a block of races that I am midway through at the moment.”
“I raced Gerardmer triathlon (half distance) two weeks ago finishing fourth, Ironman Wales last weekend finishing second with a very close finish, now Challenge Henley-on-Thames this weekend then hopefully on to challenge Barcelona on the 2nd of October if the body holds up.”
Farlow is hoping for a podium this weekend but really doesn’t know how he has recovered after last weekend. “After IM UK I picked up a bit of a chest infection that set me back a bit so I am struggling to get back to where I was”.
Farlow only lost first place in Wales in the last 200m. It was frustrating for him but after a bad patch in the run at 30kms he lost the lead he had built up on the bike.
From the UK there is multiple iron distance champion, Stephen Bayliss who has already racked three top five finishes this year, including Challenge Barcelona and Challenge Fuerteventura.
Racing from Germany is legendary multiple winner of ironman and five times Challenge Roth winner Lothar Leder. Leder was the first man to break the eight hour barrier in 1996. Throw in Farlow in to the mix, and Challenge Henley promises to make an exciting entry into the British triathlon arena.
Up to a thousand athletes will swim 3.8km in the Thames on the Royal Regatta Course, 180km cycle on closed roads through the Chiltern Hills, followed by a 42k run through Henley and by the Thames.