Danish triathlete Rasmus Henning, 36, will compete in his last professional race at the 2012 Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii on October 13. This will be the end of a pro career that has lasted for 13 years amongst the World’s best triathletes in both ITU and long distance racing. The Dane has had some major results in his career.
In Olympic Distance racing he was European champion in 2004 and has 5 world cup titles and numerous podiums to his credit. Most significant are the two wins in the highly contested Hy-Vee races in Des Moines in 2007 and 2008. He is also a double Olympian with two top-8 finishes – 7th in Athens 2004 and 8th in Beijing 2008. Henning has won several iron distance titles and in 2010 he raced in the 5th fastest iron distance time ever (now 7th fastest) at Challenge Roth hitting the finish line in 7:52:36 with a very impressive marathon of 2:39. In March 2012 he won the Abu Dhabi International Triathlon after another splendid run performance.
Wants to finish at the top of his game
“This is a decision that has grown on me during this season and was finally decided within the last weeks since we returned to Denmark this summer after almost two years living at the sports resort Playitas on the Canary Island Fuerteventura. I have been in elite sports for 25 years and have enjoyed much success and I have drawn great experiences from this sport I love. But everything has a price and these past few years I have too often had to let down primarily my family in order to pursue my own goals as an athlete. Now feels like the right time to say goodbye to this beautiful sport on the highest level. I have had a great season with three wins, among them a great win in Abu Dhabi in March, plus wins in the Half Challenge Fuerteventura and Ironman 70.3 Calgary. Few things have eluded me in my career that for me has been a fantastic ride since turning professional in 2000. Of course I would have liked to win an Olympic medal and I gave it two shots resulting in a 7th and 8th place in 2004 and 2008. A podium in Hawaii has been a dream since the 2009 season, but I have yet to break the Kona code and will give it one last try this October,” Rasmus Henning says.
The 36 year old triathlete has also felt the 25 years of hard training on his body and wants to stop racing before he does severe damage to his physique other than those calculated risks every high performance athlete takes:
“The last few years I have felt how my body has begun to struggle with the hard work I’ve put it through and I have had a lot of problems with my feet and knees the last seasons. It makes you think about the future and that you want to be able to plays sports with friends and family and also be active for the rest of your life, and for me it does not make sense anymore to ignore the signals from my body. You can accept a certain amount of pain and physical problems as a pro athlete in the pursuit of your dreams but I want to stay healthy after my career too. The balance is just not right anymore.”
Hoping for a good finish in Hawaii
Rasmus Henning has raced Ironman Hawaii three times. His best performance was in the debut in 2009 where he finished an impressive 5th, racing with a broken right hand. The last two years have been difficult for Rasmus Henning with a 23rd and a 14th place respectively. Most top athletes will know how difficult this race is and very few people actually end up winning it. Macca had his problems before finding out how to deal with Kona and won in 2007 and 2010 while Crowie has taken an impressive three titles in 2008, 2009 and 2011.
“I have chosen to announce my retirement now to be able to enjoy the last race in my beloved sport and on center stage without having to make excuses or finding out ways not to answer questions on what’s next. I know the majority of the athletes I have raced over the years will be in Kona and this announcement gives me the possibility to the say goodbye and thank you to the sport in a good way.”
“Racing Ironman Hawaii is tough. I haven’t been able to break the code yet. I dream of being able to end my career in style in Kona but I’m very much aware of the fact that it’s been difficult for me to prepare myself as well as I have the last three years. Since moving back to Denmark and our new house I haven’t been able to find that rhythm in my training that I usually have. Adding foot problems to this leaves me unable to say whether I will have a crack at the podium in my final race. I would still say that I probably have the talent to take a podium spot on a day where everything works out for me, such as in Abu Dhabi, but more realistically I expect to finish a bit further down.”
New career with own business is in place
Rasmus Henning will still have a large connection to the sport of triathlon after he stops racing.
“I have started a company called Tri Nordic. It is partly a triathlon community with training sessions and seminars, camps and lectures while the other part will be distributing high end triathlon products in the Nordic countries. The key word in everything we do in Tri Nordic is quality,” Rasmus Henning says.
“I will be present at many Danish and Nordic triathlon races with my business so I think I will attend more races in Scandinavia than I have ever done. I look forward to these new challenges and I’m glad I’ve always had focus on what should happen after I ended my sporting career. I have educated myself and have always worked on preparing for my life after triathlon.”
Rasmus Henning won’t quit sports entirely and will never stop exercising even though other things will take focus now. In 2013 the nordic skiing enthusiast will compete in the The Swedish Classic which consist of Vansbrosimningen, the largest open water swim in the world, the cycling race Vättern Rundan, the cross country run Lindingöloppet in addition to the legendary 90 km Nordic skiing race Vasaloppet.
Thank you for your support
“I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone that has supported me in my career as a triathlete over the past years. My family, coaches, training partners, fellow athletes, partners, sponsors, medical team and physios, Team Denmark and the Danish Triahtlon Federation, managers, PR manager, mental coach and all the great athletes from other sports I have had the pleasure to meet. There are so many people supporting me and you have each played a role in my success as an athlete as well as supporting me in defeats and hard times. And for that I am forever grateful. Thank you!”
Rasmus Henning, 36 years old
Married to Anita with whom he has two children: Emilie (5) and Caroline (7)
Lives in Hilleroed north of Copenhagen, Denmark
Has won 18 Danish championship titles in the Danish Triathlon Federation
Has been a professional triathlete for 13 years
Long distance racing – most important results:
Winner Challenge Roth 2010 in 5th fastest ironman ever: 7:52:36 with 2:39 marathon split
Winner, Abu Dhabi International Triathlon 2012, course record
5th in Ironman Hawaii debut 2009
ITU European Long Course Champion 2009
Winner Ironman China 2009
Silver ITU World Championships 2001
Winner in debut irondistance race in Fredericia at the open Danish championships in 2000
Olympic distance racing – most important results:
2004 European Champion
5 world cup titles, including Hy-Vee wins in 2007 and 2008
8th in Beijing Olympics 2008
7th in Athens Olympics 2004
Multiple European Cup winner.