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US triathlon star overcomes bee stings and big battles to take first podium of 2024 at iconic Challenge Roth

American Rudy von Berg was able to overcome setbacks during race week and on race day to clinch a first podium of the season with a third place finish at Challenge Roth.

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Rudy von Berg took third place and a big confidence boost at Challenge Roth on Sunday, as the American clinched his first podium of the season in style.

Coming home in 7:38:30, his second fastest time over the full distance, the PTO World #9 overcame a bizarre bee attack during race week and a tough battle on the run to hold on for a top finish.

After a rollercoaster start to the season on the T100 Triathlon World Tour, the 30-year-old looks poised for even better performances as the crux of the season approaches.

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Swim-bike-stung?

Despite crashing in the buildup to the race following two suspected bee stings, von Berg managed to dust himself off and make it to the start line in one piece for his debut in Roth.

Rudy Von Berg finishing Challenge Roth 2024
Photo Credit: Christoph Raithel / Challenge Roth

From the gun, the 2023 IRONMAN World Championship fourth place finisher was battling it out for the podium, and he gave a rundown of his day in the post-race press conference.

“The beginning of the swim was quite hard but then when we came back, I don’t know if it was the current or something, but it felt really easy, so that was pretty nice.

“Then on the bike, I love courses like this with a bit of a technical aspect, some ups and downs and after getting to Roth ten days out, I knew the course quite well by race day.

“We were rolling quite nicely and then the run was okay, it’s always painful and very difficult in your head to do a marathon, so that got a little ugly in the end.” 

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Digging deep on the run

Going into more detail about the dark moments on the run, the American full distance record holder admitted he had to go face-to-face with some demons in order to hold on to third place after an early battle with Tom Bishop for second.

Men's Pro podium at Challenge Roth 2024 - Magnus Ditlev, Tom Bishop, Rudy Von Berg
Photo Credit: Christoph Raithel / Challenge Roth

“I thought I had it under control, I thought second was pretty much in the bag, and I hadn’t faltered at the end of the marathon last year, so I thought I was good, but then all of a sudden my quads by 27km completely seized up and it was so painful. 

“When I was in third, I could see the guys coming behind me, and that made something switch in my head, I don’t know if it was ego, but I just thought ‘I am staying on this podium’.

“It’s easy when you’re in so much pain to let go and accept that they were going to pass me, and that just finishing in sixth would have still been very painful, but I had a mental switch and I went beyond the pain to hold on.” 

Coming home with a 2:43:25 marathon, von Berg finished just 27 seconds ahead of fourth place finisher Jan Stratmann, with only 77 seconds separating Bishop in second and Leon Chevalier in fifth.

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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