For access to all of our training, gear, and race coverage, plus exclusive training plans, FinisherPix photos, event discounts, and GPS apps, sign up for Outside+.
Mirinda “Rinny” Carfrae comes to Roth as the reigning Ironman world champion, yet as a rookie on this storied course. Fresh off a win at the inaugural Challenge St. Andrews Half, she’s in fast form and eager to experience European iron-distance racing at its finest. Fans are eager to watch Rinny run on a course known for its record-breaking finishes. I caught up with Carfrae in advance of Sunday’s competition to learn how she likes Roth so far and whether she has a specific time goal in mind for the race.
Triathlete.com: You’ve been in Roth a few days now. What have you been up to and what are your impressions so far–of both the course and the community?
MC: I was able to ride a lap of the bike course over the weekend. Wow! It sure isn’t flat and it ain’t as easy as some might assume–myself included. I’m not quite sure how the girls are able to ride so fast on this course. It has its fair share of hills and loads of twists and turns that normally would make for a slower race. It is absolutely beautiful countryside, though–I mean stunning. Most of the race is through farmland and tiny villages. It’s truly a great taste of Europe. I haven’t done much else other than train and rest and try to get over my jet lag. Traveling east isn’t so much fun!
Triathlete.com: Since you’re a Challenge Roth rookie, did you seek advice about the race from people that have competed here in the past?
MC: Absolutely. I have been in contact with Belinda Granger quite a lot since I got here. Having competed here 10 times I don’t there is anyone more qualified to show me the ins and outs of this race then the Queen B herself. She has been super helpful and I look forward to picking her brain more when she arrives in town to commentate–and to show us rookies how it’s done at the Roth after party. Love me some BG!
Triathlete.com: A fast finish time is often a goal in Roth. Are you focused on trying to set a PR heading into the race, or do you view that possibility more as a really nice plus if it happens on the day?
MC: Honestly I am here to enjoy the atmosphere and soak it all in. A fast time would be fantastic, but it’s not my number one goal. After so many years of hearing how great this event is I just wanted to see for myself and of course support the Challenge Family. I recently raced a relay at Challenge Atlantic City and then the half distance at Challenge St. Andrews, and they do such an amazing job putting on events that focus primarily on delivering a great experience to the athlete. Now I will finally experience the flagship Challenge race and I couldn’t be more excited–for race day itself, but really for the entire week.
Triathlete.com: Obviously the competition is going to be tough on race day and a lot of girls will be gunning for a fast finish. What’s your take on racing a handful of the top Kona contenders in mid-July? Is this a chance to accurately size one another up in the heat of battle, or is it tough to judge in July how anyone might perform in October?
MC: The field here is stellar and it will be great to get out there and see how everyone is going. But at the same time it really isn’t much of a gauge for what will happen in Kona in three months time. Everyone’s had their own early season and their own specific prep for Roth, and then we’ll all leave here and have our unique builds to Kona. A lot can happen between now and then.
Triathlete.com: Have you been able to find chocolate milk in Roth?
MC: Not yet! But I will definitely be on the lookout for an ice-cold choccy milk for after my run tomorrow morning.