Why Challenge Kaiserwinkl-Walchsee needs to go on your triathlon to-do list

It’s tough, it’s beautiful. And there’s still time to get on the start list. Whether you need a bit of persuading yourself or you’re looking for something to send your would-be race buddy to convince them to join you on the start line. Find out why you don’t want to miss out on racing Challenge Kaiserwinkl-Walchsee this year – and how participating could help you punch your ticket to Challenge Roth 2025 next year.

Writer & Long Course Triathlete
Last updated -

Each June, the hills of Austria’s Tyrol region come alive with the sound of triathletes pushing their limits over 70.3 miles of swimming, cycling and running at Challenge Kaiserwinkl-Walchsee. Having played host to the ETU middle distance championship, and with legends of triathlon – from Nicola Spirig and Anne Haug, to Sebastian Kienle and Sam Long – having graced the race course in Kaiserwinkl over the years. It’s a staple on the middle distance racing calendar.

But why should you add this tough – but beautiful – middle distance race to your triathlon to-do list? With a few spots still up for grabs on the start list for this year’s race, we take a look at the four reasons you should race Challenge Kaiserwinkl-Walchsee.

The perfect course to challenge your limits

The course at Challenge Kaiserwinkl-Walchsee is challenging, with the rolling hills you’d expect on the bike racking up around 1200m/4000ft of elevation gain. Which is then backed up by an undulating run. This is a middle distance triathlon that promises tough, but honest racing.

In fact, we even featured it in our round-up of the toughest middle distance races going. But that’s what makes it so exciting – it’s a chance to step up to the start line and find out what you’re capable of.

Sam Long Challenge Kaiserwinkl Walchsee 2022
Sam Long raced Challenge Kaiserwinkl-Walchsee in 2022 as part of his Challenge Roth build up [Photo: Challenge Family]

After racing in 2022 as part of his Challenge Roth prep, USA star Sam Long said: “It’s a great honest, hard course – one of the most beautiful one of the best,” and three-time Challenge Kaiserwinkl champion Fred Funk has described the terrain as “really demanding but makes you fit as hell.”

If you’re looking to step up your game and take on a next level challenge with an incredibly scenic backdrop, Challenge Kaiserwinkl-Walchsee should be a strong contender.  

Spectacular scenery

As far as inspiring backdrops go, there are few other races that can beat the scenery you’ll experience out on the course at Challenge Kaiserwinkl-Walchsee. Nestled in the foothills of the Kaisergebirge Mountain Range, you’ll start your day with a swim in the drinking water quality Lake Walchsee.

Challenge Kaiserwinkl Walchsee swim course scenery
Spectacular views from start to finish. [Photo: Challenge Family]

All that climbing on the bike course means you’ll get some pretty incredible views to distract you from your burning quads as you wind your way through the mountainous region. And out on the run course you’ll loop around Lake Walchsee with traditional farm houses, fields and meadows. We caught up with Frederick Funk recently, who grew up just 15km away from the race venue, to get his top tips for the race and he described Challenge Kaiserwinkl-Walchsee as: “one of the most iconic race courses in the world, and super beautiful.”

Be in with a bonus chance to register for Challenge Roth 2025 by racing at Challenge Kaiserwinkl-Walchsee

Here at TRI247, we’ve found ourselves referring to Challenge Roth as the ‘Tour de France of triathlon’. It’s one of the most iconic full distance triathlons on the circuit, perhaps only matched by the likes of Kona, with roaring crowds and a long history of record breaking performances. A bucket list race, that’s for sure. But for many age groupers it’s a race that stays on the bucket list because getting an entry is pretty tricky! Each year entries sell out within 30-40 seconds of going live, with the chance to register coming down to a game of ‘fastest fingers first’.

But in 2024, Challenge Kaiserwinkl-Walchsee have announced that all participants will have the opportunity to nab one of 25 spots to register for Roth 2025. The registration rights will be sent out to all participants the week after the race on a first come, first served basis. Which means you’ll still need to act fast to have a chance to register for Roth. But with only your fellow competitors to race through the entry form against, rather than every other triathlete in the world with dreams of the Challenge Roth start line. You’re in with a far better shot! Getting to experience the magic of Challenge Kaiserwinkl-Walchsee this year and possibly securing yourself a Challenge Roth registration in the process sounds like a win-win to us.

Take a race-cation

The Kaiserwinkl region is a vacation destination in its own right, just as well-known for its friendly and welcoming community as it is for the stunning scenery.  The local Alpine trails, woodlands and swimming lake make it a haven for outdoor lovers. And even in the summer, taking the chairlift up the mountain is a great way to appreciate the stunning views up top at a slower pace than you’ll be pushing on race day. There’s even the Alpine Super Slides – two 1km twisty-turny giant slides – to go and experience if the adrenaline of race day wasn’t quite enough for you.

Challenge Kaiserwinkl Walchsee bike
Scenery worth sticking around for post-race [Photo: Challenge Family]

But Kaiserwinkl is also a great base to go and explore some of Europe’s other big cities, with Salzburg, Innsbruch and Munich all just a short journey away. Once you’ve recovered from your race day effort, it’s well worth taking time out to explore the local area and the neighbouring cities before you back to reality.

Convinced you need to add a last minute trip to Austria to your June to-do list? Check out our Challenge Kaiserwinkl-Walchsee race guide for more details on travel, accommodation and the course. And read Fred Funk’s race day tips so you can get ready for this popular middle distance triathlon.

Jenny Lucas-Hill
Written by
Jenny Lucas-Hill
Jenny Lucas-Hill is a writer, content creator and communications professional. A long-distance triathlon enthusiast, she has three full Iron-distance finishes to date & also loves watching the sport.
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