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WATCH AGAIN: Challenge Roth 2024 – Ditlev and Haug rewrite record books

We look ahead to what promises to be another vintage edition - here's all you need to know ahead of Sunday's race.

News Director
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This is a preview of what proved an historic day. Click on the names to read more about world-record wins for Magnus Ditlev and Anne Haug.

IN-RACE UPDATE: Patrick Lange forced out by rib injury.

IN-RACE UPDATE: Daniel Bækkegård crashes out on bike leg.

Sunday in Germany (July 7) sees the 40th anniversary of Challenge Roth, one of triathlon’s biggest success stories.

It sells out within seconds each year, attracts stellar pro fields which often produce record-breaking performances – and over 300,000 fans come to join an incredibly welcoming and enthusiastic local community that make it one of the sport’s most iconic events.

And this year is no exception – Magnus Ditlev is back in search of a third crown after his ‘moon landing’ display 12 months ago while local favourites Anne Haug and Laura Philipp will do battle in the women’s race. Read on to find out more…

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Start times, how to watch live and route

Challenge Roth takes place on Sunday, July 7 2024. The event is being broadcast live – and we’ve embedded the stream for you below – with commentary from Belinda Granger and former champion and all-round legend Sebastien Kienle.

The pro men started at 06:35 local time (CET), which corresponds to 0535 in the UK and 0035 Eastern time (2135 PST Saturday on the West Coast). Pro women started two minutes later at 06:37.

The Challenge Roth website also provides timing data, leaderboards, text updates, images and more so is the ideal second screen addition to the broadcast images.

In terms of the course, it can be summed up in one word – fast.

The 3.8km swim in the canal is always wetsuit-only and there’s no real current, the two-lap bike course does feature the odd punchy climb – including Tour de France-like crowds on Solar Hill – but they are more than offset by gradual descents on perfect road surfaces. And then the run is largely on a forgiving gravel track along the canal.

And remember that this is one event where there are virtually no restrictions on shoe choice – could we see the first men’s sub-2:30 marathon?

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Pro Men

All eyes will be on the great Dane Ditlev he chases a third straight win and looks to back up last year’s monumental performance which saw him set the fastest-ever full-distance time (aside from Kristian Blummenfelt’s Cozumel effort in 2021) of 7:24:40.

The big question is whether or not he is in the prime form we saw 12 months ago?

Magnus Ditlev celebrates his 2023 Challenge Roth win
Magnus Ditlev celebrates his 2023 Challenge Roth win [Photo credit: Challenge Roth]

He started the season in that sort of shape with a brilliant victory in the opening T100 race in Miami but a bike accident in the build-up to T100 Singapore ruled him out of that and we only saw him back in action last month at T100 San Francisco.

Fourth place there was solid rather than spectacular, but he’s surely the man to beat given his Roth track record and love for the event.

Those lining up to take him on include another six athletes from the top 20 of the world rankings.

Last year’s runner-up Patrick Lange‘s best finish this season was second behind Tomas Rodriguez at IRONMAN Texas and the two were set for a run showdown here until the latter’s unfortunate withdrawal.

The win will be priority number one for German superstar Lange – his Roth results in the last three years read 2nd / 2nd / 1st – but that sub 2:30 marathon must be tantalising too, he went 2:30:27 in prototype shoes here last year.

Rudy von Berg, the world #9, throws down the American challenge this year after Ben Kanute’s superb third place in 2023.

It’s his first full-distance race of the year – his three last season saw wins at IRONMAN Texas, IRONMAN Florida and a fourth in the IRONMAN World Championship in Nice.

His preparations have been dented slightly by a wasp / bee sting this week which saw him tumble off the bike, but he’s not going to be using that as an excuse, writing on his Instagram page: “I don’t believe this will affect my race in any way (2017 70.3 Euro Champs the same thing happened but only 4 days before the race and I had a good race).”

Ditlev’s fellow Dane Daniel Bækkegård plus Pieter Heemeryck (BEL), Jan Stratmann (GER) and Clement Mignon (FRA) are others who will fancy their podium chances in what is a huge pro field.

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Pro Women

There was welcome news this week that two-time Roth champion Haug had made the late decision to join the party.

Her only defeat at Roth came last year when it took an incredible performance from Daniela Ryf to beat her.

Haug’s presence tees up a fascinating all-German showdown with Philipp, who rounded out the podium on that historic day 12 months ago.

Anne Haug Laura Philipp press conference 2023 photo credit: Challenge Roth
Haug and Philipp will go head-to-head again at Roth [Photo credit: Challenge Roth]

Haug hasn’t had the smoothest first six months of the year but she still produced a sensational performance at IRONMAN Lanzarote in May, when she destroyed the course record – which had stood since 1995 – by almost 20 minutes.

For her part, Philipp hasn’t been outside the top four in her four races so far in 2024 and was third last time out behind world numbers one and four respectively in Taylor Knibb and Kat Matthews at T100 San Francisco.

If it comes down to a run battle, then it’s likely to be advantage Haug as she’s the marathon record holder here with her 2:43:54 from 2021.

Few athletes have been busier this year than Els Visser (NED) – and this will be her ninth race.

Three wins and another three podiums suggest she deserves the utmost respect and Anne Reischmann (GER) and Danielle Lewis (USA) are others with solid claims but it will be a surprise if anyone other than Haug or Philipp takes top spot.

Recent Winners in Roth

Prize Money: What’s on the line?

The prize purse on offer this weekend is EUR 115,000 – with each of the winners collecting a EUR 25,000 share of that total.

As a Challenge Family event, there’s also another potential source of earnings for athletes too, courtesy of the Challenge Family World Bonus.

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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