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Brits at Challenge Roth 2019: Pro and Age-Group excellence

How the top Brits  performed at Challenge Roth 2019

Pro and Age-Group overall wins for Team GB in Bavaria

(Header image photo credit: James Mitchell)

With IRONMAN Frankfurt and Challenge Roth on back-to-back weekends, the two giants of European long-distance racing have now been run for 2019.

Unlike the Frankfurt weekend, I didn’t actually get to see or track a single second of Roth this year, the race clashing with the Outlaw Half Holkham, where I was working on Saturday and Sunday. Holkham is a stunning venue for a triathlon, but even a bit of basic internet connectivity to a Twitter feed for a few updates has seemingly not reached North Norfolk yet!

And thus, later than I would have liked had I been around, here’s a bit more info on the ‘Brits at Challenge Roth 2019‘, beyond the headline race news posted previously.


Top headlines of course go to the Women’s Pro winner, Lucy Charles-Barclay. Her victory adds to a perfect year so far which has included wins at IRONMAN South Africa, The Championship and IRONMAN 70.3 Staffordshire. More than that, it also puts to rest the pain of losing the race last year by just nine seconds.

The non-wetsuit swim (for the Pro athletes – Age-Groupers did get the benefit of neoprene), her usual fast start (from a women’s only wave too), saw her 49:01 clocking for the 3.8km beaten only by Jesper Svensson (SWE). Add to that the second quickest bike split and the fastest run (another Sub-3, 2:59:42), and you have a highly impressive all-round performance. The 8:31:09 finish time was also her quickest yet and more than 12 minutes ahead of her performance 12 months ago. It meant a lot to her:

Charles-Barclay is getting better every year, combining her talent with an incredible consistency of performance too. The gap to Daniela Ryf is closing, and the Angry Bird will be aware that she can’t afford to race Lucy on 90%. Kona – and perhaps Nice – will be well worth watching again this year.

In her first Pro race, Tara Grosvenor was more than happy with tenth place after what had been less than perfect preparation. “So if this is me not at my best…. bring on the next one.” We are hoping to get the inside track on Tara’s race in more detail coming very soon to the site.

A multiple Age-Group champion in IRONMAN 70.3 races, Roth was the first long distance Pro start for Gemma Frost and a 9:44 finish is a solid start from her.


Two British Pro men started, and two (perhaps under-the-radar) superb performances from both, for different reasons.

Third at Kona for the past two years, fifth place for David McNamee is not unexpected. An 8:05:50 finish is fast (race winner Andreas Dreitz clocked 7:59:02), but when you then consider he also had a puncture – which the results tracking suggests cost him around four minutes I’m estimating – and he finished with the quickest marathon on the day (2:41:01), then he looks well on track for another strong performance in Hawaii in October. Fifth on paper, but that performance is better than the results sheets suggest.

A little further down in 13th position, Pete Dyson finished with a very swift 8:26:26, a fantastic result for an athlete racing in the Pro ranks while training alongside a full-time career.

British Pro Women Results

1st – Lucy Charles-Barclay (GBR) – 8:31:09
10th – Tara Grosvenor (GBR) – 9:29:01
13th – Gemma Frost (GBR) – 9:44:04

British Pro Men Results

5th – David Mcnamee (GBR) – 8:05:50
13th – Pete Dyson (GBR) – 8:26:26


How would you celebrate your 30th birthday? If you are Ruth Purbrook, then you smash your best iron-distance time and win the overall Age-Group race in the process. Already an iRONMAN Age-Group World Champion, that result comes off of restricted run training so far this year. Watch out Kona, Ruth wants to be the fastest amateur athlete across all divisions this time around – and she now has the help of the Specialized Zwift Academy Triathlon Team to support her. And she does all of this around a very high pressure city job too. Once again, very impressive from the Will Clarke coached athlete.

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Wow. . . What a day!! . Challenge Roth lives up to and superseded my expectations in every way! Couldn’t have asked for a better way to spend my 30th birthday doing what I love, supported by the people I love. . It is one of the most relaxed I have been going into a race, as although I had big goals, I also knew whatever happened it was going to be an awesome day out! . Swim: I managed to get myself right to the front to swim out to the start line, and had a nice pre race chat with @sophie.bubb and @trin_head. Then the cannon went and it was go time! I tried so hard to stay with the front speedy ladies, and lasted about 3 minutes! Then I spend the next 800m on my own other than dodging the men we started catching from 400m in. Then a little group of 3 came past and I managed to hang onto the back of them for the rest of the swim up to the final turn around buoy. It was a bit of carnage with how many men we had to swim through, and that is where I lost them at the end buoy as I got swamped in a little group trying to turn. Coming out in a big new pb and achieving one of my goals of a sub 1 hour swim was a great feeling! . Bike: this bike course is epic!! Definitely not easy, rolling is the right word for it, but so much great support in loads of the towns as well as the two big climbs. I was so lucky this race that I had so much support out on the course, from the club there were 3 main groups split around the bike course, and then I had @bfcpurbrook , @dastle2, @frankie_dyerastle, Dad, and my godmother’s husband Phil. . Going up Solar Berg was seriously cool – so many people, so much noise and definitely put out a few too many watts 😂 . Run: setting out on the run I started to believe sub 9 was really possible – I would only need a bit of a pb on the run to make it – with a 58 swim and 4.46 bike plus transitions I basically needed a 3.10 marathon. On the limited running I’ve done I knew that would be a challenge but went for it – legs fell off after 10k and was a mental battle to hang on! . Finished in 9.12 – swim pb, bike pb, 1st AG, 8th female overall 📷 @richardmelik #triathlon #swimshivrun #findfaster #fuelledbyscience #zwiftacademytri

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The fastest British male Age-Group athlete was Nathan Ford. “What a magical race. Struggling to walk this morning, but damn it was worth it.” was his post-race comment on Monday. I suspect he wasn’t the only one with similar thoughts! 8:43 and an Age-Group podium was the return for his efforts.



1st – Ruth Purbrook (30-34) – 9:12:15
2nd – Katherine Renouf (25-29) – 9:44:04
3rd – Nicola Beck (45-49) – 10:11:18
4th – Nicola Hickey Crowe (35-39) – 10:11:25
5th – Joanne Clark (25-29) – 10:12:30


1st – Nathan Ford (35-39) – 8:43:12
2nd – David Atkinson (30-34) – 8:49:41
3rd – Declan Doyle (IRL – 45-49) – 8:53:36
4th – James Elgar (30-34) – 8:56:48
5th – Benjamin Hall (30-34) – 8:58:18



  • Nathan Ford (35-39) – 8:43:12 – 3rd
  • Declan Doyle (IRL – 45-49) – 8:53:36 – 2nd
  • Paul Kay (65-69) – 11:26:20 – 2nd


  • Katherine Renouf (25-29) – 9:44:04 – 3rd
  • Ruth Purbrook (30-34) – 9:12:15 – 1st
  • Nicola Hickey Crowe (IRL – 35-39) – 10:11:25 – 1st
  • Katrina Head (35-39) – 10:12:41 – 3rd
  • Helen Waugh (40-44) – 10:14:39 – 3rd
  • Nicola Beck (45-49) – 10:11:18 – 1st
  • Lucy Walmsley (45-49) – 10:26:08 – 3rd
  • Melanie Hayes (50-54) – 11:00:08 – 2nd

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