Triathlon: Solarer Berg and Co.: What makes the Roth race special

Triathletes from over 90 countries.

Triathlon: Solarer Berg and Co.: What makes the Roth race special

Triathletes from over 90 countries. A professional field that is unparalleled among men and women. 7500 volunteers. And on top of that, an audience that makes you (almost) forget every torment.

"You get goosebumps. We are athletes, we love to compete in front of a large audience. And I'm pretty sure that this is by far the biggest stage we have in triathlon," said Danish professional Daniel Baekkegard before the Triathlon long-distance classic in Roth: "You must have been here once in your life."

Last year after Corona, he saw the crowds at the Challenge in Middle Franconia. "And you just wanted to be there," said Briton Joe Skipper, while Ben Kanute, who grew up near Chicago, feels reminded of the junior training days in the open in the USA. This Sunday it's that time again, at 6.30 a.m. the longest day of the year for many starts.

The Solar Mountain Phenomenon

They call them mood nests. And in Hilpoltstein am Solarer Berg is probably the loudest and largest of its kind at the Challenge Roth over a total of 3.86 kilometers of swimming, 180.2 kilometers of cycling and 42.2 kilometers of running. On the second section of the endurance three-way challenge, after a curve, the view opens up onto what is otherwise known from stages of the Tour de France to Alpe d'Huez. Every pain is forgotten, it's time for emotional moments for the memory. Enthusiastic fans, party atmosphere, goosebumps on every centimetre, with every step on the pedals, right through the trellis of people, an endorphin firework. "The place where triathletes cry," once wrote the portal

A different coexistence

They are world-class athletes in their sport. They come around all over the world. In Roth, where the hotel density is very manageable with less than 25,000 inhabitants, they live privately, with families. Also Patrick Lange, the 2017 and 2018 Ironman World Champion and Roth winner of 2021 and last year's runner-up.

"When I think of rituals like that, then we introduced that on Wednesday evening after arrival you drink a nice glass of red wine, sit together, eat well and let your soul dangle before - in quotation marks - the madness starts," said Lange . Great friendships would develop during the so-called home stays: "It's a special atmosphere."

Attack on record times

The track is fast, that's well known, the finish with a specially built arena is literally the final highlight. Jan Frodeno set a world record there in 2016, finishing in 7:35:39 hours. The Norwegian Kristian Blummenfelt did it in 2021 in Cozumel, Mexico, in 7:21:12 hours, but the times are viewed with caution, especially because of the current when swimming. Briton Chrissie Wellington is still the fastest woman in a regular race. In 2011, it took her 8:18:13 hours. And where? In Roth.

During her visit on Sunday, she may be able to witness that her record will be undercut. "If you want to win the race, you probably have to break the world record," predicted five-time world champion Daniela Ryf in view of the top-class line-up. In addition to the Swiss, ex-world champion and Roth winner of the past two years, Anne Haug, Hawaii winner Chelsea Sodaro and Laura Philipp, who missed Wellington's world record last year in Hamburg by a measly two seconds, are also at the start.

Lange has made something special for the men: the well-known extremely strong runner finally wants to complete the marathon in less than 2:30 hours after the hardships in the water and especially on the bike. To give you a better idea: 2:30 hours over the distance correspond to an average kilometer of 3:33 minutes.