Tim Reed was one of Australia’s hopefuls for the Challenge Copenhagen race, along with a very talented young crew from Grant Giles’ Aeromax coaching. However he ended up as a spectator for most of the day, thanks to some atrocious conditions and bad luck. Luckily for us this did allow him to report on the race for Trizone and to watch his training partner take all of the glory. Tim takes up the storey: “The guys from Challenge took up the enormous task of putting on an international iron distance race in the heart of a major city. As if that task wasn’t challenging enough Denmark then proceeded to have the heaviest rain in 25 years with flooded roads causing blockages throughout the city. To their absolute credit the organisers did everything within their power to keep the race a success and in my view certainly succeeded.
The swim course involved going under crowd filled bridges and you could hear the roar of applause as we wove between the pylons. Adam Molnar and Martin Jenson made an early break in the swim and proceeded to put 3-4 minutes on the rest of the contenders. In the women Hillary Biscay got out first with a lead gap of close to a minute over Rebekah Keat and Belinda Granger.
With the highly technical course, rain and the devil designed ‘Denmark Flintstone’ getting through the bike course was always going to be a hard request. I like so many others punctured early in the ride but unlike so many others, never having punctured before in a race I didn’t have a spare and my ‘pitstop’ couldn’t plug the slice in my tyre. However the main victim of the tyre hungry surface was Martin Jenson who after building his gap to 5 minutes copped a second puncture and was forced to withdraw in an emotional state. After talking to many participants of the race it would not be exaggerating to say that fifty percent of people punctured. Many, like Jimmy Johnson even punctured three, four times and if you didn’t puncture it was likely you would have spent some intimate time with the road surface sliding out on some of the tight corners.
With Jenson out, Chris McDonald having two punctures and others off the pace it became obvious to Tim Berkel who was pulling the main pro pack that he needed to make a break away to keep strong runners like Keegan Williams from the top spot. Berkel, who I can personally vouch for being in top form having been training with him in Boulder, decided to drop the group with 60kms to go during the highly technical part of the bike course. He then went on to build enough of a gap to get onto the run with some breathing space.
Rebekah Keat had instruction from her coach to hammer the bike, so hammer she did building a 14 minute advantage over Granger with Camilla Lindhom and Hillary Biscay more than 30 minutes back.
The crowd on the run course was phenomenal with the course winding through the heart of the city. Berkel looked confident and smooth with the fresh beats of DJ Sebastian and Berkel’s favourite Lady Gaga song on repeat. With his only rough spot being the 38km mark where Tim said “having 120 000 people cheering you on… you simply can’t stop running - the crowd got me home.
The organisers had established the most electric finish I have witnessed with everyone fortunate enough to witness the top finishers going ballistic. Berkel crossed in 8 hours and 7 minutes and had nothing but praise for the people of Copenhagen, the organisers and the course. Keegan Williams ran brilliantly with a 2 hour 46 minute marathon coming in 2nd place. 3rd went to Jen Grobeck with an all round solid performance.
Bek Keat claimed that she felt awful on the run, but with such a big bike advantage her win never looked in question and she finished number one with a time of 8hours 54 minutes and 11th overall. The ever strong, ever friendly Belinda Granger came in second with Camilla Lindholm from Sweden taking 3rd place.
Mention has to be once again made to the organisers of this event. The ‘Challenge’ crew certainly know how to look after their participants, in particular, their professional athletes and put on the best triathlon show I’ve witnessed so far.”
Tim’s next race is the Spanish Olympic Distance Championships before he steps back up to iron distance with Rev 3 Ceder Point. Good luck Tim, and we will see if we can send you a spare!