When the news came out in race week that reigning IRONMAN and IRONMAN 70.3 World Champion, Daniela Ryf, would be racing Challenge Roth, we did comment at the time that, “right now, due to the Ironman qualification rules, Daniela will still have to complete another IRONMAN® full-distance triathlon between now and October to complete her qualification for Kona.”
Daniela produced a stunning performance in Roth, crossing the line in a time of 8:22:04, 20 minutes clear of second placed Carrie Lester. That time was within four minutes of the all-time world best from Chrissie Wellington and is the third fastest time on record.
As to why race Roth, well, that was eloquently covered and explained HERE.
Despite the Twitter suggestions of Coach Brett Sutton (below) for automatic qualification, that was never going to happen, and now Daniela has chosen to get her ‘validation’ race done on home soil at IRONMAN Switzerland – at a race she won two years ago in her first Ironman. And if you remember, when she did that she also raced (and won) the Olympic Distance race in Zurich the day before.
Wouldn't it be a great gesture for the sport for @IRONMANtri to now say @danielaryf that truly validates you for Kona. #restnow
— Brett Sutton (@trisutto) July 17, 2016
Speaking to Bahrain ENDURANCE Media ahead of Sunday’s race, Daniela said:
“Race practice is good for me. I see it as a challenge to face a week after the Challenge Roth. If I can do it, that will make me stronger for Kona.”
The specific validation criteria that Daniela has to meet in finishing is outlined below – but given her talents, I wouldn’t be surprised if she wins the race. In truth, I’d probably be more surprised if she didn’t win – because Daniela Ryf is exceptional.
“Former Pro Athlete Ironman® World Champions using the Five Year Exemption to enter into the 2016 Kona Race will be required to validate their entry by racing competitively (as determined by IRONMAN in IRONMAN’s sole discretion) and finishing at least one (1) Ironman®-Branded Kona-Qualifying Race”