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The lowdown on Germany’s latest long course event
A UNESCO world heritage city with winding cobbled streets, southeast Germany’s Regensburg has a distinctly Mediterranean vibe that’s earned it the unofficial title of Italy’s northernmost city. An hour and a half drive from Munich, Regensburg is packed with eateries, historical sites, unique boutique shops, bike and run paths, and two pools within walking distance of the city center.
Challenge Regensburg picks up where Ironman Regensburg left off after producing a similar event in the city from 2010 to 2012. City officials approached race directors Tom and Sonja Tajsich in 2014 hoping to bring an international race back to the area; following city council approval, 18 months of hard work went into race preparations. Challenge Regensburg 2016 took place four weeks after Challenge Roth, the company’s flagship event located 75 miles northwest.
The swim takes place in Guggenberger See, a pristine lake 12KM from Regensburg center. On paper, the swim course looks complicated because it’s two loops in opposite directions: the outer first loop goes counter clockwise (keeping the orange buoys to your left), then there’s a short run along the shore, followed by a clockwise inner loop. In practice, however, it’s easy to follow; buoys are plentiful and lane lines in the water clarify any point that has potential for confusion. The mirror calm water and light fog rising off the lake make for a smooth and relaxing start to the day. Tip: The lake can get warm in summertime, so you’ll want to be prepared for both wetsuit and non-wetsuit conditions.
Also two loops, the bike course runs through a Bavarian countryside of picturesque villages with terra cotta roofed cottages, rolling farmland and wooded acreage. At the 7.5-mile mark, you’ll start a hilly 8.5-mile stretch with nearly 7.5-miles of climbing, leading to the bike course’s highest point (at the 16- and 65-mile marks) in the town of Brennberg. From there, you’ll enjoy a 3-mile descent to a relatively flat 33 miles before lap two begins. (After the second lap, a final 6-mile stretch leads back to Regensburg and T2.) Five official “hotspots” where spectators congregate on the bike course to cheer will keep your spirits up.
The four-loop course kicks off with just over a mile through the historic city center, with German triathlon fans drunk on Bavarian beer packing every inch of spectator space on either side. You’ll be so entertained, you won’t even notice that you’re running on cobblestones. Leaving the city center, you’ll hit a shaded park path with a partly paved, partly soft surface that runs alongside the Danube River, where locals enjoying the summer afternoon will join race fans to keep up the encouragement. On your final trip through town, you’ll turn toward the two towering spires of St. Peter’s Cathedral, a classic example of Gothic architecture built in the 700’s and commonly known as The Dom, finishing just beneath this landmark to the deafening roar of the crowd.
The second edition of Challenge Regensburg takes place on Aug. 13, 2017. Learn more at Challenge-regensburg.com.