Sebastian Kienle’s career is now complete. The Hawaii-Winner from 2014, two-time half distance world champion and the Frankfurt winner has now added the last triathlon of the “Big Four” to his list.

The 33-year old won DATEV Challenge Roth after his third try. The fact that he almost swam, biked and ran Jan Frodeno’s world best times from 2016, was an extra treat for the unbelievable number of spectators along the 226km race course.

Kienle profited from three factors. First, during the swim which was thought to be his weakest discipline he was able to hold on with the best and in the shadow of the competition was able to save some strength. Second, during the bike course he had to take up with the likes of Australian Cameron Wurf, who is a bear of a machine on a bicycle. And third, the conditions were simply ideal: bright sunshine, comfortable temperatures and as usual a top-organization from Team Challenge and over 7500 helpers and volunteers.

The clock stopped at 7:46:23 for Sebastian Kienle in the city garden of Roth. The only athletes who have ever been faster were Jan Frodeno with his world record in 2016 of 7:35:39 and Andreas Raelert in 2011 with a time of 7:41:33. Even behind Kienle there was an absolute performance explosion. Andreas Dreitz made the German 1-2 complete after coming in second in 7:53:06 in only his second long distance race. The American Jesse Thomas (7:54:38) and last year’s runner-up Joe Skipper from England (7:56:57), along with Cameron Wurf (7:58:17) and James Cunnama of South Africa, (7:59:15) brought four more men under the magical 8-hour mark.

Sebastian KienleSebastian Kienle
(Photo: Challenge Family; click to enlarge)

Sebastian Kienle did not expect anything more or anything less than winning the race. But it wasn’t at all a sure thing. “It was incredibly hard, but it was also incredibly awesome”, the 33-year old said on the finish line. And to the spectators in the overflowing stadium: “I hope that you will all be able to experience something like I did today once in your lifetime”.

Top Elite Men

1.  Sebastian Kienle (GER) 7:46:23
2.  Andreas Dreitz (GER) 7:53:06
3.  Jesse Thomas (USA) 7:54:38
4.  Dr. Joe Skipper (GBR) 7:56:57
5.  Cameron Wurf (AUS) 7:58:17
6.  James Cunnama (RSA) 7:59:15
7.  Dr. Evert Scheltinga (NED) 8:04:28
8.  Bryan McCrystal (IRL) 8:07:37

Womens Race Report

Even more exciting than the men’s race was the development of the race among the women. England’s Lucy Charles seemed to be following a start-to-finish win strategy. The 24-year old demolished the Main-Danube-Canal’s 10-year old swim record (she was even faster than the fastest men) and held the competition at a distance along the 180km of the bike course.

But Daniela Sämmler worked her way up behind Charles second by second. After the swim she was behind by seven minutes. After the bike course it was half of that. And in the final marathon she went along in a controlled manner – turning up the speed at kilometre 21. Soon she had her competitor in sight and seven kilometres before the finish line she passed her. Result decided? Not quite, Sämmler was experiencing cramps during the last five kilometres and Lucy Charles would not allow herself to be shaken off. And from behind another strong runner, Kaisa Sali from Finland, kept getting dangerously closer.

The race was only decided during the last few kilometres. Daniela Sämmler saved herself with nine seconds crossing the finish line in front of Lucy Charles – a half round in the stadium after 3.8 kilometres swim, 180 kilometres bike and 42.195 kilometres run.

Daniela SämmlerDaniela Sämmler
(Photo: Challenge Family; click to enlarge)

A race to go down in history. It was only tighter 14 years ago when the athlete from Darmstadt, Lothar Leder, “knocked out” the Australian, Chris McCormack after a final sprint on the finish line.

Daniela Sämmler can not only be happy over a record prize money – a total of 200,000 dollars will be distributed – but also with a bonus for a new German record. In 8:43:42 she was a good three minutes faster than the previous record holder, Sandra Wallenhorst. With Lucy Charles (8:43:51), Kaisa Sali (8:46:49), Laura Siddall (8:48:42) and Yvonne van Vlerken (8:54:40), another four athletes stayed under the nine-hour barrier.

Top Elite Women

1. Daniela Sämmler(GER) 8:43:42
2. Lucy Charles(GBR) 8:43:51
3. Kaisa Sali(FIN) 8:46:49
4. Prof. Laura Siddall(GBR) 8:48:42
5. Yvonne Van Vlerken(NED) 8:54:40
6. Bianca Steurer(AUT) 9:02:44
7. Karen Steurs(BEL) 9:29:43
8. Julia Ertmer(GER) 9:37:48

A total of 3400 single starters and 650 relays took part in DATEV Challenge Roth. If one takes into consideration all the additional competitions (Womens Run, Nightrun, Junior-Challenge, Challenge for All and the Childrens run) then the Triathlon-Weekend involved over 10,000 men, women, youths and children.