Post-Race Thoughts From Challenge Roth Competitors

Race winners Mirinda Carfrae and Timo Bracht, and participants Sister Madonna Buder and Challenge Family CEO Walchshöfer look back on Roth.

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Race winners Mirinda Carfrae and Timo Bracht, and participants Sister Madonna Buder and Challenge Family CEO Walchshöfer look back on a historic day at Challenge Roth.

Mirinda Carfrae

[Summing up her Challenge Roth rookie experience]

“I think the words of the day are: exceeded expectations! The race itself, the crowds the support, the massive finish line, and also my performance. I didn’t really know what to expect going into this race. I’ve done a couple races–I did the team at Challenge Atlantic City and then the half at Challenge St. Andrews and that’s not my typical build up for a big race. So I didn’t feel that I was giving myself the best opportunity to race well here, but I also didn’t want to have that same pressure as I put on myself leading into Kona. And at the end of the day I felt really good. I mean Siri’s program for me is like magic. She does such a good job of getting me ready for race day and making sure that I get one hundred percent out of whatever I have. I think that there are so many athletes that fall short because they’re getting maybe seventy percent out of what they have. Even if I’m only at eighty percent, I get one hundred percent of that eighty percent, which I think goes a long way. Yeah, I’m just over the moon! I’m kind of surprised at how big this race is. I mean I thought: Challenge Roth–it’s a great race, a bucket list race over in Europe. But I’m surprised by how many people really pay attention to this event. It’s not quite at the level of Kona but it’s right up there, and it deserves to be, because this event is amazing.”

[On whether she’ll return to defend her title next year]
“I don’t know exactly. I’ll definitely be back at some point, and Timothy [O’Donnell] wants to do this race as well, so whether I’m back supporting him or whether I’m back racing next year or it might be the year after–I’m not sure yet. It also depends whether Rachel is racing. I will not be racing her in a full outside of Kona again. Two times a year–there’s no way! [Laughing] I ran past her on the run and I said, ‘I’m never racing you outside Kona again!’ And she said, ‘Yep, that’s a done deal.’ I said, ‘Shake on it!’ And I put my hand down and she shook my hand as I was running past. I mean we’re really good friends and I love to see Rachel do well–let’s just share the wealth! And she’s not the only fantastic athlete–there’s Caroline [Steffen], obviously, and Yvonne [Van Vlerken] and many other women that could just come and knock us both out of the top. But for right now it just felt like it was Kona all over again.”

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Timo Bracht

[On finally winning in Roth after narrowly missing victory several times in the past]
“It’s a little bit of a paradox, the years before when I didn’t win but finished on the podium, because you have so much feedback from the athletes and the spectators that you also feel that you are a champion here even when you’re not winning. But really, to win it and to want to win it, I only had that feeling yesterday during the race. The years before I often dreamed to win and I thought I could win, but that will to win I had in the race day yesterday. That’s very important–that you have that extra energy. Last year I lost 14 minutes to a mechanical and that was the difference to the winner. I actually felt that my condition was a little better last year, but the will to win was more there this year.”

[On when he felt confident of his victory]
“I have never dropped out in a race like that and I have never had problems in the last 10-km of a long distance race, but it’s not intelligent to celebrate a win 10-km before the finish line. The spectators and everybody were congratulating me for the victory, and I thought to myself: I have to run 10-km still–that is a long distance! At the point when I overtook Nils [Frommhold], I felt very strong. I was running really fast and there was a little bit of shade there in the forest. But then I went out onto the sunny section of the course and I thought to myself not to run too fast. I had a good rhythm. Then the last 4-km felt like 20-km! I think every triathlete knows that feeling when you have to wait and wait and run and run to get to the finish line. But in the end it all worked out. To cross the line in first position with all my family and friends here and a lot of fans–not only a few people, but hundreds and hundreds of people I know–it’s really great and a big honor for me. Even during the race, even my rivals were happy for me. I saw Eneko [Llanos] on an out and back part on the run and he actually stopped and cheered for me.”

RELATED PHOTOS: Final Challenge Roth Preparations

Sister Madonna Buder

[Buder did not finish the race but was lauded at the awards ceremony for her effort and had this to say]
“What kept me going on the bike was the inspiration of the German football [soccer] team in their World Cup final match against Argentina. They did not allow themselves to get ruffled, they kept their cool and they were steady, stable and constant. That’s what I tried to do!”

RELATED: 2014 Challenge Roth Press Conference Sound Bites

Felix Walchshöfer

[Recounting his special race day]

“Actually I was really happy to be in the water, because then I was kind of left alone. Before that it was just crazy in the morning in transition with all the volunteers coming up to me–it was wonderful but you also need to get prepared, so it was kind of a juggle. Then when I came out of the water there were about 50 people around my bike–it was crazy. And then I was riding out and I’ve never heard my name so often–it was amazing. I’m in a ski club in Heideck where we have an aid station, and they made a huge sign, which was so cool. And then the crazy thing was Solar Hill–I just couldn’t believe it. The city of Hilpolstein wrote on the street, “Felix, your hill!” I couldn’t believe it. I was crying with emotion all the way up Solar Hill. And then really the best thing, I thought, was just being on the run and communicating with all the other athletes, and everyone being there for everyone else. You know, this one was puking, that one had other issues, and everyone just helped each other–“Do you need salt? Do you need this? Do you need that?” It was really amazing. Then there was a sign hanging from the bridge at the halfway point, a huge sign from Lothar and Nicole Leder and Jürgen Zack. It was just so special. When I got to the stadium, following me in with balloons it was Lothar, Nicole, Jürgen, Belinda Granger and Andreas Niedrich. The funny thing is that I used to be a balloon kid behind Jürgen, Lothar and Andreas, so that was amazing. They even found old Quelle balloons somehow–that was the title sponsor when I used to carry them. I took my time running around the stadium. I think for me it was one of the best days of my life. It was absolutely awesome!”

[As to whether or not he’ll be able to continue tonight’s annual tradition of the Table Running World Championship, in which he is undefeated]
“I will go to a physio now to get my legs in good shape and then we shall see!”

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