“We are so sorry,” are the words that you’ll see atop the Challenge Roth website today as one of the sport’s most iconic events is cancelled for 2020. The next race will take place on July 4, 2021.
It hardly comes as a surprise, but it certainly provides some insight on just how long our triathlon racing drought might be as we learn today that Challenge Roth, one of the sport’s most important long-distance races, will be cancelled. And it’s not hard to see just how difficult the decision was for the Walchshöfer family – CEO Felix, Alice and Kathrin.
“We are so incredibly sorry … It is with a heavy heart we have made the decision to cancel DATEV Challenge Roth on 5 July 2020 due to the current global health crisis with the SARS-CoV-2-Virus. After consulting with the authorities, it is the only responsible choice to make.”
“We, the Walchshöfer family, together with the entire team of DATEV Challenge Roth, are deeply saddened by this cancellation,” Felix said in video statement (above) and on the event website. “It was the most difficult decision we have had to make since Challenge was founded 19 years ago in 2002. We struggled for a long time, considered every possible alternative, but the continued spread of this terrible virus, that has reached almost every country in the world, led us to the painful realisation that there is no alternative but to cancel this year’s race.”
Request for solidarity
Organizers will be reimbursing athletes’ entry fees, minus the administration fee, but acknowledge that because many costs have already been incurred for this year’s race, “This will undoubtedly have a major impact on our company, the result of which is still unknown.”
“As you know, this is purely a family business, there is no other investor behind us who can support us or provide us with additional funds,” Walchshöfer says. “Nevertheless, we have a deep desire and a firm intention to organize our Challenge Roth event with the help of our athletes, friends and supporters – and it will be a good one – to lead the future. That is why we want to put something to you: for those who can, we ask you to voluntarily waive part of the refund in support of Challenge, the proceeds of which provide an emergency fund to ensure the long-term survival of our brand.”
Those who can donate over 100 Euros will get pre-registration rights for two entries over the next 10 years.