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The Championship 2024 men’s results: Kyle Smith smashes the course record with incredible win

Kyle Smith (NZL) outlasted Frederic Funk (GER) on the run to take a big win at The Championship, as the Kiwi obliterated Mathis Margirier's course record from 2023 in the process.

Staff Reporter
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Kyle Smith of New Zealand clinched an emotional victory at The Championship, as the Kiwi ran his way to victory to take the win in a new course record.

Reeling in Germany’s Frederic Funk, who led off the bike, Smith bided his time, before making the decisive move on the second lap of the run and never looking back.

Funk, finishing strong in second, improved from his third place last year, with Danish athlete Kristian Hogenhaug rounding out the podium in third.

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Swim – Bogen and Dubrick battle up front

After a fast start, the men quickly settled into a rhythm in the swim, with American Marc Dubrick leading from reigning IRONMAN 70.3 World Champion Rico Bogen, as a sizeable group at the front started to break away from the rest of the field early on.

Pushing the pace throughout, Bogen and Dubrick emerged side-by-side, but despite their best efforts, had failed to make any substantial inroads into the strongest cyclists. Tom Bishop, Pieter Heeemryck and Funk, all Top 5 in 2023, were amongst the leaders into T1.

In total, 17 men made the front pack, with Team BMC pro Kristian Hogenhaug, recent IRONMAN 70.3 Mallorca second place finisher Jan Stratmann and Kiwi Smith at the front on to the bike. Additionally, Britain’s Josh Lewis, fifth at last year’s IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship, also made the break.

Further back, the chase pack was made up of around ten athletes who came together in transition, with Britain’s popular pro Joe Skipper +3:15 back out of the swim, but with some strong cyclists for company, the race was far from over for the Norfolk man.

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Bike – Funk off the front

Over the early stages of the bike, it was Hogenhaug who really took control and started to push the pace, with Funk latching on to the Dane’s surges as the pair, both superb cyclists, tried to break up the front pack.

Dropping Alessandro Fabian, who won Challenge Cesenatico last weekend, then Britain’s Jack Hutchens and American Marc Dubrick, the lead group was whittled down to just 12 athletes after the halfway mark, with Thomas Davies and Kieran Lindars also falling back.

Opening up a small lead in the second half of the bike leg, Funk had built a buffer of almost half a minute by the 65km mark over Bogen, Smith and co, with Heemeryck by then down a minute with Australian Kurt McDonald for company.

Off the bike, after a remarkable effort over the final 25km, Funk had a sizeable gap over the rest of the field, with the German +1:28 ahead of Bogen and Smith starting the run, with Stratmann and Hogenhaug a further 20 seconds behind.

Back in 11th, pre-race favourite Heemeryck was +4:18 down on the start of the run, but after his recent performances off the bike, Funk could not rest on his laurels, with the Belgian determined to pick up his first race in Šamorín.

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Run – Smith sinks Funk with lightning quick run

After such a storming pace on the bike, Funk started out the run strong, but couldn’t keep away from Smith, who by the end of the first lap had reeled in the German. In third, Bogen also appeared to be struggling, with a group led by Bishop closing in behind.

By the second lap, Smith had started to consolidate his lead, with his gap back to Funk almost a minute by the 10km mark. In third, Bogen was a further 30 seconds behind Funk, with Kacper Stepniak of Poland moving through the field and threatening the podium.

With two laps to go, Smith’s lead was up to +1:36, with Bogen a minute back from Funk in third, but under a lot of pressure from Hogenhaug and Stepniak, who lap-by-lap were making up ground on the world champion.

Kyle Smith took a memorable win at The Championship 2024.
[Photo Credit – Challenge Family]

Coming into the finishing straight, Smith had secured not just the win, but also a new course record, as the Kiwi put down a stunning performance in Slovakia. Funk was second, with Hogenhaug across the line in third.

Challenge Family The Championship 2024 results

Sunday May 19, 2024 – 1.9km / 90km / 21.1km

PRO Men

  • 1. Kyle Smith (NZL) – 3:27:10
  • 2.Frederic Funk (GER) – 3:29:24
  • 3. Kristian Hogenhaug (DEN) – 3:29:56
  • 4. Kacper Stepniak (POL) – 3:30:21
  • 5. Jan Stratmann (GER) – 3:31:55
  • 6. Rico Bogen (GER) – 3:32:12
  • 7. Filipe Azevedo (POR) – 3:32:35
  • 8. Jesper Svensson (SWE) – 3:32:52
  • 9. Ondrej Kubo (SVK) – 3:35:51
  • 10. Josh Lewis (GBR) – 3:36:06
Tomos Land
Written by
Tomos Land
Tomos Land is a triathlon & running journalist whose expertise lies in the professional world of short course & long distance triathlon, though he also boasts an extensive knowledge of ultra-running.
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