Germany’s Andreas Raelert took the tenth Challenge Roth in a new world-best time of 7:41:33 on a day that saw records fall across the board in near-perfect conditions. Germany’s Sebastian Kienle took second with New Zealander Keegan Williams third.
The 34-year-old Raelert, on his maiden voyage around the 3.8km swim/180km cycle/42.2km run course, smashed both the longstanding Roth record and the new world-best mark of 7:45:58 set just a week earlier by Belgium’s Marino Vanhoenacker at Ironman Austria.
“This was the best performance of my life,” he said. “I remember Chris McCormack said in an interview that the boys in the future will make 7:45 or sub-7:40, and last week Marino opened this new chapter. It was just a question of time that the men would get to such times.”
In his wake was 27-year-old Kienle, who last year in his own Roth debut posted a 7:59:06 for second behind Denmark’s Rasmus Henning. Raelert had already faced Kienle once this season in the half-distance Challenge Kraichgau, with Raelert taking the win and Kienle second.
“I just have to say thank you to Sebastian because he pushed me absolutely to the limit,” Raelert said to laughter at the press conference after the race. “On the bike I just started to push as hard as I could, just to lead as long as possible because Sebastian was pushing from behind. There was a point that Sebastian couldn’t make much more time on me so the gap was around 1:30. That was the point to say OK, now I have to push as hard as I can just to get in his mind, to destroy him. [“You really did,” a wry Kienle laughed in response.] And of course you need the legs at this stage—I just had the legs.”
Once he hit the run, Raelert said he had an idea the record was in sight and worked hard to push the pace but not overcook himself, taking in the advice of his brother, fellow world-beating triathlete Michael Raelert, to rein his enthusiasm just enough to ensure a strong finish.
“When I entered T2 I heard we were around five hours and I was thinking a little bit to get under the course record,” Raelert said. “Sometimes you start to think to yourself, maybe it’s this moment, don’t let it slip away and just try to give everything you have, and that’s what I did. I’m totally exhausted, not physically also mentally, and quite happy.”
Belgian Luc van Lierde’s Roth course record of 7:50:27, set in 1997, was for years a benchmark for long-course triathlon and while many had attempted to best it, it stood until just this year.
For more, visit www.challenge-roth.com.
10 July 2011; Roth, Germany
1) Andreas Raelert (GER) 7:41:33 (46:18/4:11:43/2:40:52)
2) Sebastian Kienle (GER) 7:57:06 (49:58/4:12:46/2:52:02)
3) Keegan Williams (NZL) 8:16:01 (51:32/4:26:23/2:54:52)
4) Felix Schumann (GER) 8:18:05 (49:38/4:31:11/2:53:49)
5) Christian Ritter (GER) 8:18:40 (46:15/4:30:31/2:59:02)