News has just come in from Germany that the 2020 edition of the legendary German long-distance event, Challenge Roth, has been cancelled due to the Covid-19.
The race was set for 5 July in Roth, Bavaria, and regularly attracts 200,000+ spectators and 6,000 long-distance athletes for what we’ve previously voted as triathlon’s greatest event.
Here’s a slightly-condensed version of the statement from Challenge, who have already confirmed that the race will return in July 2021.
Dear friends of DATEV Challenge Roth
It is with a heavy heart we have made the decision to cancel DATEV Challenge Roth on 5 July 2020 due to the current global health crisis with the SARS-CoV-2-Virus. After consulting with the authorities, it is the only responsible choice to make.
We, the Walchshöfer family, together with the entire Challenge team, are deeply saddened by this cancellation. It was the most difficult decision we have had to make since Challenge was founded 19 years ago in 2002. We struggled for a long time, considered every possible alternative, but the continued spread of this terrible virus, that has reached almost every country in the world, led us to the painful realisation that there is no alternative but to cancel this year’s race.
Since Challenge was founded, it has been - and continues to be - our philosophy to put the well-being of the athletes at the heart of everything we do, regardless of the circumstances. Now we have reached a point where we can no longer guarantee the health and physical safety of the athletes, nor the high level of competition you expect.
We have been greatly concerned by the many registered athletes from so many countries whose training conditions are subject to massive restrictions, are affected by curfews, or who, in some cases, have even contracted SARS-CoV-2-Virus. We strongly believe in our responsibility for the athletes and it is important we live up to this responsibility. Therefore, we have no other choice.
Caring for our athletes, and also for all our volunteers and everyone involved in Challenge, is always the top priority at DATEV Challenge Roth, now more than ever. We are particularly thinking of our more than 7,500 volunteers who are the heart and soul of our event and who we must not and do not want to put at risk. The same applies to the emergency and rescue workers involved in the organization. In the current difficult situation, they are working almost around the clock to help people and, yes, to save lives. We cannot put any additional burden on them.
Germany and the whole world are facing a huge challenge. The ever-increasing number of cases, and unfortunately deaths, forces us to rethink and adapt our own view of many things that are dear to us as we face this cruel reality. We have to learn that sport, especially our beloved sport of triathlon, actually isn’t the most important thing in life. At the moment it's about things that are bigger and more important than triathlon. It's about curbing an aggressive and deathly virus, and all of us can only hope and believe that it will be defeated soon.
If we keep in mind the enormous consequences and implications this pandemic imposes on the global population, the cancellation of a sporting event - be it as big as DATEV Challenge Roth - is almost irrelevant, nothing but a grain of sand the desert. We should keep this in mind during this time so it is easier for all of us to gain a clear perspective.
We don't want to complain about the economic side of this event cancellation. On the other hand, we cannot hide the fact this has significant financial consequences for us. We have already made advance payments in many areas, ordered large quantities of equipment, materials and event technology and commissioned services. We will have to carry many of these costs. This will undoubtedly have a major impact on our company, the result of which is still unknown.
But we will not desert you!
Despite this difficult situation, we are reiterating our promise to our athletes: We stand by our word and will, contrary to many other organizers, reimburse entry fees minus the administration fee!
We have also planned registration for the next DATEV Challenge Roth on 4 July 2021. One thing is certain: EVERYONE who was registered for DATEV Challenge Roth 2020 will have the right to register for DATEV Challenge Roth 2021 before anyone else.
We will be back next year. And we will celebrate with you all at the largest triathlon party ever on 4 July 2021 in Roth!
Until then: take care and above all, stay healthy.
See you at the finish line in 2021 in Roth!
Yours in friendship.
Alice, Felix and Kathrin Walchshöfer with the entire Challenge team