08.07.2017

13. Challenge for All at Roth's public pool

13. Challenge for All at Roth's public pool
Where the small ones stand tall

There they are, the triathletes of the next generation and maybe even the ones from the generation after that. The youngest athletes where greeted with lots of applause at Junior Challenge. The “Swim&Run” for the smallest is the highlight of Challenge Saturday. The spectators go all out to cheer for the kids from the age-group 2011 and younger, when they take on the 50 meter swimming course and the 200 meters of running.

One who definitely goes all out is this year's patron of the Junior Challenge, Dirk Bockel. All day long he was right there and eloquently and - of course - expertly co-hosted the races on all the distances. He kept commenting, cheering, celebrating, giving high-fives and hugs. A patron who apparently really enjoys his role. And the smallest, who finished last, got his special attention. Some last words of advice from the professional athlete before the start, warming up together with the triathlon legend and the mayor and then the youngsters followed the winner of DATEV Challenge Roth 2013 to the swim start. The last of the kiddies to finish was personally led across the finish line by Bockel while getting cheered on and receiving a big slice of watermelon.

„Incredible!“ says a beaming Bockel. „If I had started that early, who knows what might have become of me.”  Earlier that day, at the “Fitness triathlon” for the teenager and student age groups, Bockel was able to witness, the up-and-coming talent of the sport. “I wish I would have been that fast at that age.”

That opinion was shared by another familiar face from the triathlon scene in Roth: Jürgen Zäck who had left his his adopted play of residence in Thailand to act as a coach  at this years Challenge. And he was not going to miss the Junior Challenge! Afterwards he was very impressed and praised the event.

The Challenge for All, which also includes the Challenge-Sprint-Night on Friday,  made up of company relay teams, is already a well established event. The Junior Challenge is now in its 13th year, and could qualify itself as a teenager. Challenge for All is meant quite literally: From hobby athletes who just want to try it, to ambitious rookies. Everyone who knows how to swim, owns a bike or a pair of running shoes can participate. The popular family-relay-team-race creates shared experiences between the generations. It goes without saying, that also handicapped persons form part of the Challenge for All. It is a family festival of triathlon. Roth's public pool offers prime conditions and you can also take a quick dip to cool off during the race-day. Countless volunteers make sure that athletes and spectators long for nothing.

Just one group is happy that they do not have an eventful day: the paramedics have hardly anything to do. Just a judge had to be picked up from the pool area because of a small foot injury. But he didn't let that spoil his day. Besides that there were only the occasional cool packs or band-aids handed out.

The organizers of SFV Aurau, led by Thomas and Jeannette Seifert, come up with something new every year to make the race even better. Thanks to the extra space at Parc Fermé, the changing zone to the bike course isn't that tight and crowded any more. But that also means, that the spectators have to walk a bit further. They were then surprised that the finish line arc was not at the actual finish line, but a bit further up on the stage. This meant, that the finishers, after crossing the line had to make their way up a steep ramp to finally walk through the arc. But that made them celebrate even more when they finally made it. 


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