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Challenge Family adds ninth destination

Challenge Family adds ninth destination

Fuerteventura, one of the sunny Canary Islands off the coast of Spain, will host a race in the Challenge world series next year, bringing the total of global Challenge races on offer to nine

Fuerteventura, one of the sunny Canary Islands off the coast of Spain, will host a race in the Challenge world series next year, bringing the total of global Challenge races on offer to nine. Race organizers from Spain and Germany announced the move Thursday at the press conference for the flagship race in the series, Challenge Roth.

The premiere of the Playitas Challenge Fuerteventura half-distance race will be May 1, 2011, in southern Fuerteventura. The primary sponsor and joint race organizer will be the Playitas Sports Resort, which has earned a strong reputation among endurance athletes for various training camps offered there, and is also well-known for its sponsorship of the Saxo Bank professional cycling team.

Athletes can look forward to an unusual competition in the southern part of Fuerteventura, with a course that reflects the island’s rugged beauty. After the swim on a circuit in the Atlantic, the demanding bike leg includes several inclines and leads through the beautiful communities of Tuineje and Pajara.

The final half-marathon will be the highlight of the half Challenge: After a five-kilometre asphalt lap and two laps of a golf course, the run will take the athletes to a lighthouse with a spectacular view of the sea. The run course is already seen as very challenging and will demand a great deal from competitors, so the race in Fuerteventura will certainly not be among the Challenge series’ easiest races. The course’s toughness will reflect what is commonly said in Fuerteventura: “Eres fuerte para Fuerte?” (“Are you strong enough for Fuerteventura?”)

Challenge CEO Felix Walchshöfer said he was impressed by the planned race course when he visited the island: “A Challenge is a test of one’s abilities in a demanding undertaking—and this competition is going to be just that for the triathletes. The Playitas Challenge Fuerteventura is definitely going to be a new athletic highlight for the Challenge series, and the landscape is simply breathtaking!”

Hotspots for spectators will be perfect, with the swim start, transition zones, run course and finish line right on the hotel grounds. Local organizer Jörg Kinder, sports manager of the Playitas Resort and an active triathlete himself, has had the idea in mind since first arriving on the island: “When I landed on the island for the first time about one and a half years ago, and did my training on the future race course, I thought: ‘Wow, one should have a competition right here.’”

The Playitas Challenge Fuerteventura offers both the island and the resort a chance to build a reputation as a destination beyond the beach, Kinder said: “Together with the island government we are going to do everything to establish this event as a long-term athletic highlight in the Canary Islands. The run course, with the lighthouse, will especially be something that everyone remembers.”

For traveling athletes, training conditions leave nothing to be desired: The climate is welcoming, there’s little traffic and the road quality is good. Even the date helps: “The date for the Challenge Fuerteventura has been set at the end of the training camp season and at the very beginning of the race season. It’s the perfect race to prepare for the Challenge Roth and of course for the whole season,” said Felix Walchshöfer. “I’m sure that the Playitas Challenge Fuerteventura will make the Challenge series even more attractive and we warmly welcome the new member in our Challenge Family.”

The well-known triathlon travel business Hannes Hawaii Tours is already working on trips for athletes to the new Challenge event. Further information on the race, visit: www.challenge-family.com, www.playitas.net and coming soon www.challenge-fuerteventura.com.

Profile image of Matt Baird Matt Baird Editor of Cycling Plus magazine


Matt is a regular contributor to 220 Triathlon, having joined the magazine in 2008. He’s raced everything from super-sprint to Ironman, duathlons and off-road triathlons, and can regularly be seen on the roads and trails around Bristol. Matt is the author of Triathlon! from Aurum Press and is now the editor of Cycling Plus magazine.