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Home favourite Laura Philipp eyes world record ahead of Challenge Roth clash

Laura Philipp is ready for Challenge Roth.

Staff Reporter
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One of the home favourites for Challenge Roth this weekend, Laura Philipp, has her eye on the world record in Bavaria as she prepares to take on one of the best women’s fields in recent memory.

The winner at IRONMAN South Africa and IRONMAN 70.3 Kraichgau so far this year came within seven seconds of the long standing mark of 8:18:13 set by Chrissie Wellington at IRONMAN Hamburg last season, where she won in 8:18:20.

Now, confident that her fitness is in a good place, the PTO World #7 has her sights set first and foremost on the win in her Roth debut, sharing in her most recent YouTube video that she is more than up for the challenge.

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“I’ve had a great time”

Having spent a significant part of the season at altitude, Philipp shared that her most recent stint has been the best yet, with gains made across all three disciplines.

“Since my last video, another two weeks have passed by up here in St Moritz. I made great progress in all three disciplines, adapted well to the altitude and also to the intensity, even though you always feel the high altitude.

“I’m getting ready to leave altitude now. On one side, I get super excited, but on the other, it also feels like I’m leaving this training camp bubble that I have really enjoyed over the past few weeks.

“I really enjoyed being up here, pushing myself and working towards a big goal and now that the goal is coming closer, it’s race week and I feel confident, well prepared and I’m really looking forward.” 

“I don’t think I’ve ever raced such a strong field”

Sizing up her competition in Roth, Philipp points out that she will be up against the last three Kona champions, but still fancies her chances on race day.

Laura Philipp IRONMAN 703 Kraichgau 2023 [Photo credit: IRONMAN Germany]
[Photo credit: IRONMAN Germany]

“Thinking about the competitive field that I have to face in Roth, of course there is some nervousness and excitement. I will race the last three Kona champions and other great athletes, and I don’t think I’ve ever raced such a strong field outside of Kona.

“To have this kind of field on home soil in Germany is definitely really cool and I have pushed myself in the hard session thinking about all the other girls I’ll get to race there. I think we will have very close racing and I’m hoping I can be up there in the front and mix it up with the others.” 

This being her first time ever in Roth, Philipp will be hoping the support of the home crowd can help push her in the latter stages of the race, with the famous atmosphere on the course something the 36 year old is very excited for.

“I have never been to Roth, for a race or to spectacle, so I think the atmosphere and the support will really push me to race at my best.” 

Will we see a world record?

Whilst confident that the race will be fast and acknowledging the talk around the world record, Philipp is unsure if it will be broken on Sunday, due to changes made by the race organiser in relation to motorbikes on the course.

“I think with the strength of our field, it is going to be a really fast race on a really fast course. The previous course record has been set in Roth by Chrissie Wellington and I came very close to it last year, missing it by seven seconds.

“I’m not sure if it will happen, because Felix Walchschofer is trying to minimise the impact of motorbikes. I think previous races in the last have been influenced a lot by motorbikes so we will see what happens on race day.” 

Breaking down her ideal scenario on race day, Philipp shared that she hopes to come out near the front in the water, push the pace on the bike, then let the crowd carry her to a great performance on the run.

“A dream race scenario in Roth would be coming out somewhere close to the front in the swim, I would definitely prefer a wetsuit swim, but we will see how the weather plays out.

“Then, of course I would like to be on the front on the bike, pushing it and making it really hard for the other fast runners. If that doesn’t work out, then I would prefer to jump off the bike with the fast runners and then we will have an epic battle on the course.

“I hope I can enjoy the atmosphere, soak it in and hopefully this will push me to new personal limits and see how far I can go.” 

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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