Challenge Family has announced ‘a significant change to the DATEV Challenge Roth course’ for the event, which takes place on 9 July 2017. For the first time in the more than the 30-year history of the Roth triathlon, a new two-lap run course has been designed to be more athlete and spectator-friendly.
The new route links the towns of Roth and Büchenbach, together with the local canal in a T-shaped course, which is completed twice. With each out-and-back section of the ‘T’ at 10.2km, runners pass each point of the course four times. With an additional 1.4km of connecting routes at the bottom of the T, the classic marathon distance of 42.195km is reached.
Benefits for athletes and spectators
The condensed course is aimed at being much more spectator-friendly. It is easy to walk from the bike-run transition to the course and be able to see the athletes four times as they pass within a relatively short distance without the need for a bike or public transport. This is especially good for families with children.
Above all, however, the new course has a host of advantages for the athletes: ‘a better atmosphere with bigger spectator crowds, wide paved roads rather than the narrow gravel canal track providing more room for overtaking and a smoother running surface.’
Lastly, the aid stations and hotspots will be even closer together. The previous section of Schleuse Leerstetten – Schwand – Haimpfarrich – Eckersmühlen will no longer be used.
TEAMCHALLENGE CEO, Felix Walchshöfer added “I would like to thank the community of Schwand as well as Haimpfarrich and Eckersmühlen with all the locals and volunteers for their great support for so many years!”
Course remains as fast as before
The organising team notes that the new course will probably have no effect on the fastest times. Although the terrain is somewhat hilly just before Büchenbach, there is a downhill section at Leerstetten and Eckersmühlen. In addition, ‘it is much faster on asphalt roads than on gravel roads’.
Felix Walchshöfer drew on the results of athlete feedback, as well as his own racing experiences, when changing the run course. In the recent DATEV Challenge Roth 2016 survey, the level of satisfaction with the racing organization, the commitment of the volunteers and the competition quality reportedly scored 98%. The swim and bike courses also achieved high scores. It was only the run course, which some athletes saw as monotonous and thought could be improved – and so the race organisers took action.
New community partners on board
The course changes mean the Challenge Family organisers are able to welcome the town of Büchenbach on board as a new partner. From 2017, Büchenbach joins the local ‘triathlon community’ as the second turn around and is ‘already involved in actively supporting the event with groups of volunteers from Büchenbach’.
Büchenbach’s Mayor Helmut Bauz said, “We are certainly enthusiastic about it and are happy to be part of the famous Challenge Family.”
Two new hot spots plus aid stations at the town hall and at the school are being established, with some of the volunteers transferring from aid station locations no longer used by the new course.
Felix Walchshöfer said, “It’s unlikely we’re going to find space for all the previous run course volunteers, even though they may have to travel further from home. This shows the impressive loyalty our helpers have towards our event.”
There will be a total of seven double-aid stations on the new track, and they will also move closer together, supplying athletes every 0.9km to 1.9km (previously: 2.1km to 2.9km). All 15 existing hot spots are being kept, spread over 10.2km.
The Roth region with old favourites such as Kugelbühl and the Market Square is likely to experience the greatest spectator boom. This is also the opinion of Roth’s ‘Triathlon Mayor’ Ralph Edelhäußer who said, “The athletes now run four times through the middle of the Roth town centre, which increases the experience value of our hot spots immensely and gives everyone involved a boost. Our goal: we want to be the ‘Solar Hill of the running track’!”