Roth is dancing towards the Challenge Weekend

Roth is dancing towards the Challenge Weekend

There is probably only one day in the year when the market square in Roth is filled to capacity. For years, the “Welcome Party” featuring music from the „BAYERN 3 Band“ has been a fixture for visitors and locals. Before the members of the band take the stage, BAYERN 3-sports host Bernd-Uwe Gutknecht and Roth’s mayor, Ralph Edelhäußer, welcome the guests. They share the stage with the two race directors, Kathrin and Felix Walchshöfer. They thank the BR family (Bayerischer Rundfunk) for the close cooperation and this year’s first ever live coverage of the whole race. “That’s a huge leap for us and for all fans of triathlon.” says Felix and then shares some news: “Not only BR will cover the race, but also, for the first time, 20 international TV-stations from China to Russia.

Something Felix Walchshöfer is not worried about, is the excitement at the world’s biggest long-distance triathlon event. Especially in the women’s field, Sunday’s race promises a “legendary showdown”.

Daniela Bleymehl’s spontaneous registration was a “great surprise” for the whole team, according to Walchshöfer. Last year, the German top triathlete finished 9 seconds ahead of Lucy Charles.

This year’s men’s field is also one of the strongest ever. Six of the top ten finishers from Hawaii will be in Sunday’s race. One of the German top contenders is Andreas Dreitz from the Nuremberg area. He too, made an appearance at the “Welcome Party” and made it clear, that on Sunday he will go all out. “Especially on the bike course, I plan to dominate the race.” he announces and then shares a bit of his game plan: every 20km he will have a small piece of energy bar.

Belinda Granger is on the stage, too. The former triathlete from Australia and multiple winner of Ironman races is an absolute crowd favorite. Even after ending her career in 2013, she still kept making her way to Challenge Roth every year. On Sunday, Granger, for the first time, will not be present at the race. She is hosting the live stream from a studio in Munich. “But in the evening, I will be there.” she emphasizes. Roth has become her second home. “I love you all!” she says with a shaky voice, fighting back tears. Thundering applause followed.

After the speeches, the musicans of the BAYERN 3 band took over the stage. And after the first song, it was clear: a whole town is dancing towards a spectacular triathlon weekend. Elderly people bopping their head to the beat, young kids bouncing around… recent hit songs and older classics made the crowd move. BAYERN 3 not only has a great band, but also great light effects. While the sun was slowly setting, colorful lights were dancing across the house fronts at market square. As every year, there were also food trucks and booths, so no one had to go hungry or thirsty. And those who needed to cool down a bit from all the dancing and singing along, got their ice cream fix at the parlor right next to the stage.   

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