Thanks and appreciation for athletes and organizers
Anne Haug and Patrick Lange overwhelmed by the atmosphere on course
“Everything a little different, a little smaller, but just amazing” - Ralf Reiter from DATEV sums it up in one sentence. Even on the day after DATEV Challenge Roth powered by hep, everything is as always, and yet a little different. The athletes celebrated at the award ceremony, this time not in the big tent, but in the open air in the finish stadium.
But before the medals were distributed, the mayor of the district town of Roth, Ralph Edelhäußer also spoke. As for Ralf Reiter, race day was also something very special for Ralph Edelhäußer and just as emotional as ever. DATEV Challenge Roth powered by hep is the most important sporting event in Bavaria and this year in particular it was good for the athletes to be able to race again. That this was possible on Sunday, was due to everyone pulling together. Organisers and authorities, but also the spectators, who followed the race with “brains, heart and soul” and observed the distance and hygiene rules on the course. The hygiene concept that made the race possible is a “real doctoral thesis”. So it was not surprising that race director Felix Walchshöfer first thanked his colleague Markus Englert at the beginning of his acceptance speech. He paved the way for the race in over 50 pages of protocol.
"I was absolutely overwhelmed and grateful for so many things," said an emotional Felix Walchshöfer the evening before. “If you as an event organizer go through such a crisis and do not know when there will be another event, if at all, then a huge stone will fall from your heart on such a day.” The race was a "true collective effort". He especially thanked the authorities, in particular the Roth District Office for a very cooperative collaboration and the district municipalities for their support.
Without the sponsors, the new edition would not have been possible, emphasized Felix Walchshöfer and on behalf of title sponsor DATEV, who “did a lot more than what is written in the contract”. That is not just a contractual support, but a friendship.
The athletes present applauded their commitment. It got particularly loud when Felix Walchshöfer focused on the DATEV Challenge Roth powered by hep team, the race directors, the athlete service team and the countless volunteers along the course. For hours and hours they supported the athletes in the sun and wearing FFP2 masks. The job of keeping the race safe the race was carried by around 600 active members of the fire brigade in the district, and thanks to this mission, there were no serious accidents. He was grateful that the Bavarian Red Cross and the water rescue service.
The event was safe, emphasizes Felix Walchshöfer, and the police operations manager confirmed the police did not have to intervene at any point. So much so that they want to bring back the supporting programme and the hotspots next year.
For the two winners, Anne Haug and Patrick Lange, the race was not only successful, but also in a class of its own in terms of atmosphere. For both of them it was the first time in Roth and it was hard to imagine what the atmosphere would be like in a year without a pandemic. Starting “at home” was already something very special for Anne Haug from Bayreuth and she is already looking forward to DATEV Challenge Roth powered by hep next year. “A competition like this motivates training. As an athlete, you live precisely for these moments, because especially now in pandemic times there are few opportunities to prove your performance,” she said.
The men's winner, Patrick Lange, was also happy about the competition in Roth and left no doubt that he will be back. He is incredibly grateful to the entire team around Felix, Kathrin and Alice Walchshöfer. DATEV Challenge Roth powered by hep makes triathlon sport a presence in Germany and is also a real figurehead for the sport: "Everyone is always there for everyone!"
There is no doubt the first two places left a strong footprint in Roth, but that this is more than a metaphor, the mayor of the district town of Roth made sure of that himself as the winners’ feet were immortalised on the “Walk of Triathlon”.
But not only the pro field was celebrated, the age group winners and the German and European Triathlon Championships received trophies, medals, prizes and of course the recognition and applause of the other athletes.