On Saturday evening, the last triathlete crossed the finish line at the official ETU European Middle Distance Triathlon Championships in the city square of Herning, Denmark. The swim started at 10:00 CET on 10 June at Lake Fuglsang Sø, and around 1,500 athletes fought their way through 1.9 km swim, 90 km bike and 21.1 km run with ‘massive crowds cheering for them along the way’.
The bike course took the athletes through the scenery around Herning, and the run course through a route in the city centre – straight through the New York-style public library and around the Søndre Anlæg City Park, in which an annual family culture event was taking place at the same time.
“It has been an exciting and formidable European Championship in triathlon,” said Lars Krarup, Mayor of Herning Municipality. “The athletes gave us a thrilling race, and the centre of Herning has been buzzing all day. I think this day has shown some of the many possibilities our municipality has to offer, and what we can accomplish when we work together. I’m happy that the people of Herning supported this race as volunteers, as participants and as a cheering crowd.”
Garmin Challenge Herning was organised by Race Makers, the organisation behind Challenge Denmark (Challenge Herning & Challenge Fredericia). Race Director Claus Vesterby said “It made a really big impression on me to see how many people were actually out there today cheering for the athletes – along the course and at the finish line – even up until the last athlete crossed the finish line, making sure they were applauded too. That was just incredible!”
He continued “The day went exactly as well as we’d hoped it would. And after such a day, there are a few people I need to mention, because we simply couldn’t have brought such a big event to the city of Herning without our event partners and sponsors. I would therefore like to send a special thank you to Herning Municipality, Sport Event Denmark as well as the Danish Triathlon Federation and the European Triathlon Union plus our title sponsor Garmin.
“Also, a heartfelt thanks to all of the volunteers who chose to spend their precious time with us today. They make up the foundation of an event like this.”
The collaboration between several parties is also what the President of the Danish Triathlon Federation, Mads Freund, pointed out as being the main reason for a successful conduction of the event.
He said, “First of all, this European Championship in Herning showcases the support for triathlon as a mass sport. It is magical to see the European elite, the age groups and the open class-participants running side-by-side. That mix of elite and mass-participation is unique to triathlon. To top the day off we won a European Championship on the women’s side and two great medals on the men’s side, so it has been a great day for Danish triathlon.
“The clubs supply the volunteers, the City of Herning lends us the city centre, and Sport Event Denmark is the indispensable partner that makes all this possible. Then there’s Challenge Denmark and Race Makers that we have a great collaboration with. Today has indeed been a great day for Danish triathlon,” Freund added.
5x world championships coming up for Denmark
The coming year will interesting for the expansion of Danish triathlon – not least because of the 5x World Championships in triathlon, duathlon, aquathlon, aquabike and cross-triathlon taking place at the island of Funen during the summer of 2018. Sport Event Denmark is also official partner of this event.
“The Triathlon EC, or Garmin Challenge ETU European Middle Distance Championship as the full name goes, today created winners in the elite-field, in the age groups and amongst the open class-contestants,” said Lars Lundov, Director at Sport Event Denmark.
He continued, “At the same time, the city of Herning created a regular street party for the spectators. We now look forward to next year, when Denmark once again welcomes the triathlon community, when we host no fewer than five world championships in just one week on the island of Funen.”
In the women’s pro race at Garmin Challenge Herning, Danish athlete Camilla Pedersen took the Eurepean Middle Distance title, and the Danish colours were also strongly represented at the podium among pro men – with the Danes Anders Christensen and Miki Mørck Taagholt finishing 2nd and 3rd and Danish female athlete Maja Stage Nielsen taking the title as Vice-European Champion among the women. By all means, an impressive result for Danish triathlon on home soil.