Bart Aernouts (BEL) and Daniela Ryf (SUI) earned the wins at today’s Challenge Roth triathlon in Germany. Aernouts spent the day working through the field, while Ryf led from start to finish but struggled to keep pace with her self-proclaimed goal of breaking Chrissie Wellington’s record for fastest iron-distance race.
Aernouts plowed through the field in the hot, humid conditions. Exiting the swim in 23rd, he worked his way up the field on the two-lap bike course and headed out on the run in fifth place. He set a fast pace on the marathon, taking the lead at the 26km mark. He did not slow down until the finish, clocking the fastest marathon time in the process (2:44:10). Finishing in 7:59:07, he was the only athlete in the 3,400 strong individual field to go under the eight-hour mark.
“We had a really close field on the men’s side and this showed in the run where there were quite a few position changes, said Aernauts. “I surprised myself a little bit. I am not the best swimmer and I was alone on the bike most of the time and I felt the headwind quite a lot. They say Roth is a fast race – it’s not that fast! It’s not flat and today it was quite windy. I know a lot is possible in the run – it’s long and hard, especially with the new course. I had to be patient at the beginning and then took the risk and pushed at the halfway point to get the lead and made it to the finish line. I’m always looking for great race and I think it’s going to be hard to find a better race now than this one!”
Ref put together an impressive swim, bike and run, but today was not the day for breaking records. The difficult windy, humid conditions, combined with a back injury for Ryf earlier this year, meant it was not a world record day.
“I am very happy with my race,” she said. “Like I said before the race I didn’t think it would be realistic to get the record. But that didn’t stop me trying. I started the run well. The crowds were amazing and they pushed me really hard and I took that energy and I was going well but the last 25km was very hard —I was struggling. It was one of the hardest races for my legs. They got really challenged which is a good thing—that is why we do sport because we like to challenge ourselves and I definitely did that today. I didn’t walk, I just ran really slowly! My legs were so heavy and I tried to lift them but they didn’t work smoothly. Sometimes you get a race where you can push it through and today was not easy and I really had to fight for it. I like that the Roth team changed the run course to make a better atmosphere, not to make it faster—it’s not all about the records. When races make courses as fast as possible so people come, that’s not how it should be. I’m just going to keep focusing on getting better and if the record happens, I will be really happy and if it doesn’t, Chrissie Wellington is an awesome record holder.”
2017 Challenge Roth
Roth, Germany, July 9, 2017
2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, 26.2-run
1. Bart Aernouts (BEL) 7:59:07
2. Joe Skipper (GBR) 8:03:00
3. Maurice Clavel (GER) 8:04:53
4. Timo Bracht (GER) 8:07:01
5. Terenzo Bozzone (NZL) 8:11:34
1. Daniela Ryf (SUI) 8:40:03
2. Laura Siddal (GBR) 8:51:38
3. Lisa Roberts (USA) 8:57:14
4. Yvonne Van Vlerken (NED) 9:07:40
5. Corina Hengartner (SUI) 9:25:28