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Kona bound for Steffen

The Ironman European Championship was, in some ways, a disappointing race for Switzerland’s Caroline Steffen. The former champion had to settle with third place behind Daniela Ryf and Julia Gajer, but was still able to see the upside to her race.

“I wasn’t 100% happy with my race in Frankfurt, which wasn’t a surprise, to be honest. The last few months were a little struggle health-wise, which makes it really tough to race against such a strong field like we had in Frankfurt,” Steffen said.

Thanks to her fifth-place finish at the Ironman World Championship last year, along with third-place finishes at Ironman Melbourne and the race Frankfurt and a slew of 70.3 wins, Steffen has once again qualified to compete in Kona this October.

Steffen was able to spend some time with her family in Switzerland after racing in Frankfurt and took in Challenge Roth, where her partner David Dellow made his comeback in long-distance racing after battling illness.

Steffen is keeping herself busy when she’s not training, too, having taken on some initiatives to to benefit children. After racing Ironman 70.3 Vietnam, she donated her entire winner’s cheque to the Newborns Vietnam Program.

“No mother should get in a situation where their baby has to die just because of missing equipment or machines. In so many countries we take the first aid for our babies after birth for granted. That’s not the case In Vietnam. One day I’ll be a mum and, if needed, will be thankful for any help I get.”

Steffen believes it’s important to be a good role model to inspire the next generation.

“I did a 5 km women’s fun run with a young girl. She had never ran 5km before in her life. She was so nervous, but was keen to give it a go. Half way through the 5km she started to struggle a little, but then she said: ‘If you can run 42 km I can do 5 km’ … and kept running. Just yesterday she sent me a note saying she started her run training and wants to do more running in future. That message made my day.”

While Steffen lets her guard down around children and loved ones, she is all business when it comes to her profession. She has already started her 10-week training block, which includes racing at Ironman 70.3 Sunshine Coast and IMG International Beijing, before heading to Hawaii for the world championship.

From Lisa Pringle, Bahrain Endurance 13