As it stands today, DATEV Challenge Roth powered by hep can take place on 5 September 2021 with an extensive hygiene plan and a 50% reduction in the number of participants. After the cancellation of the 2020 race, the dreams of many athletes and volunteers can finally come true, in keeping with the motto of the event “dreams cannot be cancelled”. The organisers attach great importance to the safety of everyone involved and the local community. The Roth district office has now given the green light for further preparations for the race.
Dreams cannot be cancelled
The trend of a rapidly falling infection rate, which experts say will not reverse in the next few months, the on-going vaccination campaign and the easing of the regulations, make it possible for the race to take place within a safe framework.
“TEAMCHALLENGE has presented a comprehensive protection and hygiene plan. This guarantees the highest level of security for everyone involved,” says Dr Stefan Schmitzer, head of the Roth health department.
Race director, Felix Walchshöfer, is relieved by the positive assessments from the health department, which also submitted the hygiene plan to the Bavarian State Ministry for Health and Care for examination. At the same time, he emphasises that the protection of the athletes, volunteers and the entire regional population are of top priority.
“We are incredibly pleased that, as it stands today, we can finally give the athletes a goal again and the event can take place on 5 September. We are of course aware that at this time in particular there are many concerns that we take very seriously. We know we can guarantee an event with maximum safety with our hygiene plan. If this weren't the case, we would have cancelled the race weeks ago. But it should be noted if there is an unexpected and dramatic increase in infections or a massive outbreak of a new, unknown virus mutation before September, resulting in the tightening of regulations, we will cancel the event at short notice if necessary."
Comprehensive hygiene plan to protect everyone involved
The protection and hygiene plan presented already exceeds requirements of the current regulations. To protect everyone, for example, entries are reduced by half even though regulations would allow the race to go ahead at full capacity.
The basis of the plan includes a prerequisite for admission to the Triathlon Park and participation in the event to be vaccinated, tested or recovered (Three G Rule in German - geimpft, getestet, genesen). In addition, FFP2/KN95 masks are compulsory and social distancing rules apply throughout the event site. Spectators are asked not to gather along the course this year, which is why there will be no hotspots on course. Instead, spectators are encouraged to watch the race from the comfort of their home. Bayerischer Rundfunk will have extensive reporting online and on TV.
Altered bike route
The race will begin on 5 September at the later start time of 7:00am and in different waves. As in previous years, the swim course is 3.8 km through the Main-Danube Canal near Hilpoltstein.
There are some changes to the bike course this year. The biggest are in the Hilpoltstein area due to extensive road works on the original course and also the need to prevent large gatherings of people. This year, the course does not go over Kränzleinsberg and Solarer Berg, but follows a two-lap course with approximately 1,200 metres of altitude from Eysölden via Mindorf and Jahrsdorf. These changes are only planned for this year. It is still unclear whether the bridge renovation at Eckersmühlen will be completed before 5 September. If not, the alternative route in Eckersmühlen will lead over Grimmstrasse and from there start the second lap or head to T2.
The run course remains unchanged covering 42.2km along the Main-Danube Canal via Büchenbach to the Triathlon Park in Roth. After a long and emotional day, the athletes are welcomed in the finish stadium, which has seating and admission controls and the Three G Rule. The Roth District Office will determine the exact number of spectators allowed nearer the time.
Full concentration on the long distance on Sunday
Almost all the usual supporting events, the Bayern3 parties in Roth and Heideck, the Bambini Run in Hilpoltstein, the Erdinger Hüttengaudi, the Night Run from Hilpoltstein to Roth and the pasta party are not possible this year. Athlete briefings, the Helferfest and the Challenge Women Run will only take place online. The popular expo can take place on a smaller scale as part of the hygiene plan. Admission to the expo area is only possible for vaccinated, tested or recovered people with a mask and in compliance with the social distancing rules.
“A special thank you for their constructive and intensive cooperation goes to the District and Health Office Roth, the Bavarian Ministry of Health and the Interior, as well as the local traffic authorities and communities. I would also like to thank Jörg Ammon, the President of the Bavarian State Sports Association, who gave us incredible support in submitting the protection and hygiene plan. The race this year will be different, but I am certain it will be just as memorable as in previous years," says Walchshöfer.
The majority of athletes will travel to Roth from Germany this year as, when the race was postponed in February, many overseas triathletes have already rebooked free of charge for the next event on 3 July 2022 due to uncertain entry requirements.
Challenge Family series European races in St. Pölten, Riccione, Gran Canaria and Gdańsk have already taken place successfully this year and have all shown with a similar plan that it is possible to hold world-class sporting events safely in these times.
The protection and hygiene plan was developed in cooperation with the German Triathlon Union (DTU) and the APA Brand Solutions agency, which was commissioned by the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB) to develop guidelines for hygiene and infection protection for events and sports associations.