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The final official celebration of the 2012 Challenge Roth, the Helferfest (Volunteer’s Party), marked the closure of a thrilling race week in Germany – one in which competitors and triathlon fans from around the world were given a herzlich willkommen (heartfelt welcome) to Roth. As women’s champion Rachel Joyce remarked, it seemed that the whole of Bavaria was out on the course on race day, volunteering and cheering. In fact, over 5,000 volunteers helped make this year’s event run smoothly, and they packed the tent during Monday night’s banquet in their honor.
While the evening’s festivities were conducted primarily in German, a translation dictionary was not required to understand the sentiment of deep appreciation for the thousands of volunteers, without whom a race of such magnitude would not be possible. During the party, hundreds of thank-you awards were given out via raffle, the grand prize being a week’s stay on the island of Fuerteventura. The professional athletes in attendance took center stage to express their deep appreciation for the volunteers’ assistance, and Challenge CEO Felix Walchshoefer could be seen winding his way through the banquet tent to warmly thank as many individuals as possible.
A unique treat for the newly crowned European Long Distance Champions Rachel Joyce and Timo Bracht was an invitation to sign the Golden Book of Roth, thus officially making their mark on this special town. The book, presented by the town’s mayor Ralph Edelhäußer, is essentially a VIP guest log. Its gold-gilded pages contain personal messages and signatures from military and political dignitaries and entertainment and sports celebrities who have visited Roth, along with significantly accomplished Roth residents.
Mayor Edelhäußer takes great pride in the Golden Book and the town that he represents, as well as the opportunity to host the Challenge Roth triathlon. Following the Helferfest, he joined the Team Challenge crew and numerous athletes and friends dancing to a live band into the late evening hours. Roth’s Minister of Justice and his wife were also in attendance, as their son is the band’s lead guitarist. Yes, put plain and simply, the residents of Roth really do rock!