Two seconds behinds Great Britain’s Fenella Langridge in the swim at DATEV Challenge Roth last year, that deficit was exactly seven minutes more today in Bavaria for repeat winner, Anne Haug.
That put her on the back foot from the start, something she noted shortly after adding another impressive victory to her C.V.
‘I gave everything I had’
“I really had to fight today. I didn’t have the swim that I would have wished for and it made me in a position where I had to push a bit on the bike,” she explained.
“And then the run was really hard. I felt okay until the half marathon and then I had a bit of a down phase. I got a bee sting in my neck, so it was mentally a bit tough for me, but in the end I’m super happy with my performance. I gave everything I had today and you have to be happy with that.”
Haug reduced the deficit slightly with a 4:33:45 bike split, but she would still start the run with more than five-and-a-half minutes to make up. Did she feel she could catch the Brit?
“You never know, because you can’t influence how good the others are, you can just influence your own performance. I tried my very best and I saw that on the run I can get closer and I calculated that maybe I can catch her around the half marathon – but then you go in the lead and mentally it’s a lot tougher than if you are chasing.
“So I just focussed on myself, tried to stay as relaxed as possible, make my nutrition right and do everything that I can. I’m super happy to see the finish line.”
While she won the race last year, COVID restrictions at the time meant far less of the crowds that Challenge Roth is renowned for. They were back in force – and for Haug, a year on from her own pandemic-related health issues – that added to her feelings today.
“It was tough, but I felt better than last year because then I had the COVID disease in the background and I didn’t feel well on the run at all.
“Today it was a bit better and it is always great to be in front of a home crowd, it makes it very special for me. I’m super happy.”