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Challenge Roth 2023 results: Ryf the GOAT as she sets staggering new world best time

Switzerland's Daniela Ryf knocked an incredible 10 minutes off the previous world record full-distance time as she won Challenge Roth.

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Daniela Ryf shattered the previous world record women’s full-distance time – which had stood since 2011 – by nearly 10 minutes on a momentous day at Challenge Roth which also saw an historic win by Magnus Ditlev in the men’s race.

The display from the Swiss superstar deserved every accolade going – she was the only athlete able to stick with Fenella Langridge (GBR) on the swim and then she destroyed her own bike course record by over nine minutes to give herself an advantage of 13 minutes starting the run.

Barring any disaster the victory and world record beckoned but it was a question as to what margin the five-time IRONMAN World Champion would take off Chrissie Wellington’s 8:18:13 at this very race 12 years ago.

She stopped the clock in 8:08:21 and the incredible quality of her performance – her third success at Roth – was underlined by the women who finished behind her.

Anne Haug, the winner for the last two years, was second after cutting through the field on the run and fellow German Laura Philipp, who had come within seven seconds of Wellington’s mark in Hamburg last year, took third.

Swim – Advantage Daniela

Most pre-race expectations for the opening 3.8km swim had one name set to lead the way – and Great Britain’s Langridge didn’t disappoint in that regard. The wetsuit-legal swim saw last year’s second placer reach the short transition area with a 50:12 clocking.

The notable however was that Ryf was right with her as the duo broke away early from this high-class field. Ryf of course is a strong swimmer – she won on the ITU World Triathlon Series before her long-course heroics, after all – but when you consider that she was six minutes down on Fenella in Kona last year, this was a stunning start for the Angry Bird. What a confidence boosting way to kick-start your day.

That was magnified of course at it also meant she would start her strongest discipline, the bike, with a lead over the other high-profile favourites including Lisa Norden (SWE) and Chelseas Sodaro (USA), who were two minutes back alongside Margie Santimaria (ITA). Philipp and Haug were on the back foot less than an hour into the race, as they emerged from the water exactly four minutes behind Langridge and Ryf.

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Bike – Ryf leaves rivals trailing

Ryf showed recently in Switzerland, that she’s in the sort of triathlon bike form that makes her pretty much untouchable. Combine that with a stellar swim and the positive vibes from that opening 3.8km, and she was set to display that once again, this time in Germany.

Straight to the front, her eyes were on the road ahead and she would not see another Pro female again until the run course. 1:37 up on Langridge at 26km, fast-forward to the halfway mark, she was almost seven minutes clear of the Brit, nine minutes up on Sodaro and Norden, with Philipp (+10:24) and Haug (+11:48) really up against it already – especially with the potential of another 90km of Ryf power still to come, before the run.

No change to the Swiss athlete’s modus operandi over the second lap of the bike, and as she rolled into T2, her lead was a massive 13 minutes exactly over Norden, 18 minutes on Langridge and Philipp, 19 on Sodaro and a whopping 20 minutes over defending champion Haug.

Ryf completed the bike leg in 4:22:56, a new full-distance record and more than 11 minutes quicker than the next best, 4:34:00 from Norden.

Daniela Ryf T2 Challenge Roth 2023 photo credit: Challenge Roth
Daniela Ryf virtually had the race wrapped up by T2 [Photo credit: Challenge Roth]
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Run – Ryf oblivious to drama behind

In complete control, Ryf never looked under any threat but there was no let up either as she set that new benchmark time.

But there was all sorts of drama in behind. It was no surprise to see Haug start to cut through the field with her run speed – and Sodaro too was initially on an upward trajectory.

It all meant that while Ryf was over 14 minutes ahead at the halfway point, we now had a second / third / fourth of Sodaro, Philipp and Haug with little between them – as Norden dropped to fifth.

And having started well back at T2, Haug was up to P2 in the final 10km but Sodaro was moving in the other direction and unfortunately she would decide to pull out at around the 30km point.

Haug crossed the line in 8:21:09, with Philipp +4:22 further back in third and Langridge a fine fourth as she dipped under three hours for the marathon for the first time.

Daniela Ryf wins Challenge Roth 2023
Daniela Ryf produced a staggering display [Photo credit: Challenge Roth]

Challenge Roth 2023 Results (Women)

Sunday 25 June 2023 – 3.8km / 180km / 42.2km

  • 1. Daniela Ryf (SUI) – 8:08:21
  • 2. Anne Haug (GER) – 8:21:09
  • 3. Laura Philipp (GER) – 8:25:31
  • 4. Fenella Langridge (GBR) – 8:33:53
  • 5. Lisa Norden (SWE) – 8:43:11
  • 6. Henrike Güber (GER) – 8:51:31
  • 7. Katrine Græsbøll Christensen (DEN) – 8:57:27
  • 8. Johanna Ahrens (GER) – 9:13:59
  • 9. Maja Betz (GER) – 9:15:33
  • 10. Margie Santimaria (ITA) – 9:18:12
Jonathan Turner
Written by
Jonathan Turner
Jonathan Turner is News Director for both TRI247 and RUN247, and is accustomed to big-name interviews, breaking news stories and providing unrivalled coverage for endurance sports.  
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