DATEV Challenge Roth powered by hep on 5 September will feel a hit different under COVID conditions, but will still have the usual welcoming atmosphere. Due to the comprehensive hygiene concept, which has been constantly updated in recent months, there are some changes to the race. Athletes can look forward to a safe and high quality race in the triathlon stronghold of Roth - after a long lean period in competitions.
In order to ensure the best possible health and safety conditions for participants, only around 1,500 individual starters and 300 relays will take part this year. This is less than half the usual number of athletes. They come from 47 countries, but over 80% are from Germany. An athlete survey at the end of July with around 1,500 responses showed around 90 percent of the participants were already fully vaccinated. In addition, the "3G rule" applies to competition participants as to all other people on site: Only those who have recovered, have been vaccinated or tested receive access to DATEV Challenge Roth powered by hep. In order to ensure compliance with the distance rules at the swim start, the start groups (13 individual and three relay groups) have been separated and reduced in size. Of course, the usual hygiene and distance regulations also apply to the athletes throughout the event - for their own safety and the safety of all those involved.
The bike course will also look different this year. Due to roadworks, this year the course does not go up Solarer Berg and the Kränzleinsberg, but follows two laps over Heideck, Greding and Hilpoltstein and is 170km long. This has the added advantage during these COVID times of avoiding crowds at the usual hotspots such as Solarer Berg.
There will not be any commentary hotspots on the course for safety reasons, and the usual supporting programme with Challenge Women, Erdinger Hüttengaudi, NightRun, pasta party and the Bayern3 parties in Roth and Heideck will not take place either. Junior Challenge on Saturday however will take place with its with its own hygiene concept. The triathlon stadium is built at the usual size (and with a new look!). In order to ensure social distancing rules, a limited number of 1,500 spectators are able to watch the finish there. There is also a smaller than usual Expo featuring a number of exhibitors from the triathlon industry who offer everything to do with swim, bike and run.
TEAMCHALLENGE asks all spectators and Challenge fans this year to follow the race on television or online if possible. This has been made as easy as possible: Bayerischer Rundfunk will broadcast the entire race from 6.45am, and DATEV Challenge Roth powered by hep can also be experienced in a full online live stream. In addition, ARD Sportschau and ZDF Sportstudio will report on the race. Sky Sport will also feature excerpts of the race with soccer icon Erik Meijer from Roth. There is also a finish line cam in which relatives can see their loved ones finish live. In addition to other live features at www.challenge-roth.com, there are four times more timing points on the route than in previous years. This means that the favourite athletes can be tracked even more easily.
The enthusiasm and passion of the numerous volunteers, fans and supporters in the city and district of Roth for “their” competition will not be diminished by the somewhat different, quieter character of this race. With a smile behind the mask, thousands of volunteers will again this year assist the athletes and contribute to them realising their race dreams. After a very long dry spell in which triathlon events were generally not possible, this dream is finally within reach for the triathletes - because "Dreams Cannot be Cancelled".
With all this, one thing must not be forgotten: we are so lucky and do not take for granted that the race can take place on 5 September following the cancellation in 2020 and a postponement by two months in 2021. Of course, there are a few restrictions to be accepted, but the “Myth of Roth” will remain and after almost 40 years will survive this phase as well.