Denmark’s second largest city, Aarhus, will host the half iron distance race Challenge Aarhus for the second time on June 17th.
The race is a 1,9 km swim at Tangkrogen in the bay area in Aarhus, a 90 km bike ride with rolling hills through Aarhus, Odder and Skanderborg and back to Tangkrogen again where the athletes face the 21,1 km run on a 3 looped run course in downtown Aarhus.
The finish line and transition zones are located at Tangkrogen. For a detailed look at the courses – click here.
In the men’s field the defending champ, the very strong swim-biker, Rasmus Petraeus, will take on some strong, Danish competition in the likes of last year’s 3rd place Mads Vittrup-Pedersen. He is one of the very fast runners in the sport and not a guy you would want to run with in the last km of a race. Emil Dalgaard is also a strong swim-biker who ran himself to a 4th place finish in last year’s event and just took home the Danish sprint title last weekend. Another strong runner is the swiss soon 4 time Olympian, Reto Hug. In Aarhus the swiss former European champion (Olympic distance) will try to show off the ITU speed in this half distance and will be a podium contender in this race. As will Stephen Bayliss, a well known Challenge athlete who has several podiums in the series.
In the women’s race we will see the ‘Battle of Moms’. Home country girl Lisbeth Kristensen has to children and is once again back racing after pregnancy. She will among others be racing British triathlon super mom, Bella Bayliss, who holds an impressive 15 Ironman titles. The two moms are also both long distance world champions. Camilla Pedersen will probably also be in the mix for a podium spot coming off a a recent win at the Half Challenge in Barcelona where she led from start to finish and a 4th place finish at the European Championships at Challenge Kraichgau this weekend.
Strong performances last year
Last year we saw an entire Danish podium in the men’s race. Rasmus Petraeus ran off with the win after running away from Bjorn Andersson and Martin Jensen late in the run. Jensen held on for second place in front of Mads Vittrup-Pedersen. Rasmus Henning was the clear favorite on the day but had to pull out of the race after the swim due to massive cramping.
The women’s race saw defending long course World Champion and 2010 Ironman Hawaii runner up, Caroline Steffen of Switzerland, hold a tight grip on the trophy all day long. She won by 12 minutes to Swede Eva Nyström in second place and home town favorite Michelle Vesterby who finished third. But most of all the day belonged to all the age group athletes that competed and went through all the emotions and agony and pain that brought them to the finish line in what for many was the challenge of a life time. They were the every day heroes that stood out and embraced the personal and unique wins that makes KMD Challenge Aarhus a great Challenge event.
1,322 have signed up for the Challenge in the streets of Aarhus.
Pro men’s field – favorites:
#1 Rasmus Petraeus, Denmark – Winner of KMD Challenge Aarhus 2011
#2 Mads Vittrup-Pedersen, Denmark – 3rd place in KMD Challenge Aarhus 2011, 4th in KMD Challenge Copenhagen, 2011
#3 Emil Dalgaard, Denmark – Danish sprint champion in 2012 and 2011
#4 Dejan Patrcevic, Croatia – 3rd at KMD Challenge Copenhagen 2011
#5 Reto Hug, Switzerland – Is competing at his 4th Olympics in London. Has won the European champs once and has World Championship silver and bronze – all at the Olympic distance
#6 Stephen Bayliss, Great Britain – Multiple Ironman winner
#16 Michael Murphy, Australia
#17 Markus Liebelt, Germany
Pro women’s field – favorites:
#51 Lisbeth Kristensen, Denmark – Former long distance World and European champion
#52 Bella Bayliss, Great Britain – 15 x Ironman winner and former long distance World champion
#53 Camilla Pedersen, Denmark – European long distance champion 2011, winner of Half Challenge Barcelona 2012
#55 Linda Schücker, Germany – 3rd at KMD Challenge Copenhagen 2011, 6th at KMD Challenge Aarhus 2011