Ditlev and Haug Win Challenge Roth 2022
Favourite Frodeno drops out with Achilles issues as Ditlev comes within seconds of the German's course recordPhoto by: TEAMCHALLENGE / Lars Pamler
The 20th edition of Challenge Roth was a spectacular battle for both the 44 professional men and 15 professional women who took to the start line as part of 5,450 total athletes in the event. The hot summer temperatures didn’t keep the crowds away that make Roth the race it is every year and the professionals put on a show with record breaking performances.
In the women’s race, Anne Haug (GER) successfully defended her title in front of a home crowd with a winning time of 8:22.42. Haug spent most of the day chasing the impressive Fenella Langridge (GBR) who led almost the entire race.
It was Rebecca Clarke (NZL) who kicked off the non-wetsuit swim with an aggressive pace that only Langridge could match. Although the two were not in contact the entire swim, they passed a group of pro men and came out of the water seconds apart, Langridge just in front. Haug meanwhile sat in the chase pack drafting off of Maja Stage Nielsen (DEN) and Judith Corachán (ESP), exiting the swim in 5th with a time of 58:46.
While Haug added time to her swim deficit by grabbing the wrong transition bag, Langridge was already on the road growing a dominant lead that she would maintain for the duration of the bike. The Brit was loving the energy of legendary Roth crowds, especially on the famous Solarer Berg where she was visibly pumping up the crowds with her arms as they parted just enough for her to ride through.
Haug, meanwhile, was focused on the chase and just after the 70km mark, rode herself into second. Clarke was quickly left behind by Haug and eventually caught by the chase pack of Corachán, Laura Siddall (GBR), Elisabetta Curridori (ITA), Magda Nieuwoudt (RSA), and Stage Nieslen.
With a bike split of 4:35:51, Langridge came into T2 with a 5:18 lead. Haug, who clocked the second fastest bike split in Roth history with a time of 4:33:45, hit the run course clearly looking to defend her title. After 11km, the gap had been halved and by the end of the canal, Haug made the pass. Haug, despite having to cope with bee sting on her head that she obtained during the bike, looked comfortable and strong as she grew her lead, eventually running down the green carpet to take the win with a lead of over ten minutes.
“I really had to fight today. I didn’t have the swim I would have wished for and it put me in the position where I had to push on the bike. Then the run was really hard…I calculated I could catch her at the half marathon. Then you go in the lead and mentally it’s harder than if you’re chasing so I’m super happy to see the finish line,” Haug said after the race. “I’m super happy with my performance, it was everything I had today.”
Langridge took second with a time of 8:31:41 and promptly poured a podium-sized beer over herself after crossing the finish line to not only celebrate her second place but also a personal best performance. Capping off the podium was Corachán who finished in 8:46:29.
1 – Anne Haug – 8:22:42
2 – Fenella Langridge – 8:31:41
3 – Judith Corachán – 8:46:29
4 – Laura Siddall – 8:53:31
5 – Rebecca Clarke – 9:08:37
Ditlev charges to a huge win
The men’s race marked the return of Jan Frodeno (GER) after his extended break from racing due to an Achilles injury. On home soil, the German was clearly ready to live up to his reputation leading out the swim early. It was only Maurice Clavel (GER) who could match the pace but it was Frodeno who was first out of the water with a time of 48:47. The chase group, lead by Thomas Davis (GBR) held all the rest of the big players including Patrick Lange (GER), Reinaldo Colucci (BRA), and Magnus Ditlef (GER) just under 90 seconds back. American favourite Sam Long (USA) was in the following pack, finishing the swim in 13th, 6:35 back.
It was Ditlev that moved fast from the chase pack once he was on the bike, making contact with the race leaders within the first 20km. A front group was formed that included Ditlev, Frodeno, Clavel, Robert Kalin (SWE), and Reinaldo Colucci (BRA). The group would remain intact until Colucci dropped off after lap one and Clavel dangled just off the back after the 45km. Shortly after, Frodeno moved to the front and pushed the pace that only Ditlev could handle. The two forced a gap of 1:50 and came into T2 only six seconds apart with Ditlev’s bike split setting a new record in 4:01:56.
Behind the leaders, Lange and Brad Weiss were over eleven minutes behind, with Long just a minute behind them.
It looked like a battle with a Frodeno fairy tale ending was about to unfold but less than 10km into the marathon, Frodeno would abandon the race in pain from his Achilles—but not before giving Ditlev a high five. Despite hot temperatures, Ditlev would only enhance his lead throughout the run, clocking a 2:40:22 marathon to eventually take the win with a time of 7:35:48, just nine seconds off of Frodeno’s course record.
“I’m out of words. I just can’t believe what just happened,” Ditlev said after the race. “Everything just went according to plan and it’s very rare that it does. I’m just very grateful for an event like that with spectators everywhere, they just carry you through.”
Kallin, who was third off the bike, couldn’t hold off a charging Lange who eventually ran himself into second. After coming back from shoulder surgery, the defending champ clocked a 1:16 half marathon and set a new run course record with a 2:35:10 marathon. Colucci would round out the podium in third.
1 – Magnus Ditlev – 7:35:48
2 – Patrick Lange – 7:44:52
3 – Reinaldo Colucci – 7:52:36
4 – Bradley Weiss – 7:53:56
5 – Robert Kallin – 7:59:35