Photo by Michael Rauschendorfer
Chrissie Wellington smashed her own world best time of 8:31:59 at Challenge Roth earned here last year, with an amazing 8:19:13 Sunday that was good enough for seventh place overall.
The ever-smiling Wellington was dominant from start to finish, exiting the water on the heels of early swim leader Tereza Macel (CZE) in 50:28 and quickly overcoming that to burn through the bike course and build a lead of nearly 22 minutes heading onto the run. She carried on at a similarly scorching run pace, ticking the kilometres over at a reported a 3:50/km at some stages to produce a 2:48:54 marathon.
“For once I’m lacking the words to describe how I feel,” Wellington said at the finish. “I never thought that I would be able to break my own world record, and to do it has made me so incredibly happy and proud.”
The British star left her closest competition, top Aussie Rebekah Keat, more than half an hour in arrears at 8:52:10—and some of the world’s top men were left in her wake as well. With Keat second to Wellington for the second year in a row, Macel ran through for third in 9:09:29, setting a new personal best along the way.
“Chrissie was just…I don’t know,” said Keat, searching for words at the finish. “The boys have to look out for her now. I have to try to beat her but I don’t know what we can do.”
“It was really hard,” Keat said of her day. “I didn’t feel the heat but I just felt terrible on the bike and couldn’t get going. I felt good on the second lap but it was too late.”
“My coach was out there on the run course and he said you’re so far behind I don’t want you to really, really push with another Ironman in six weeks.”
From the dominance she’s shown in the triathlon world since bursting onto the scene with a win at the Ironman World Championships three years ago, it’s clear Wellington is in a class of her own. “I like to race myself, number one, but if there’s a guy there that I can catch, I will,” she said. “I don’t think they like it very much.”
She said she thinks it’s important for her to continue to show other women athletes what’s possible—and that there are really no limits: “We’re narrowing the gap between the men and women, and that’s really important,” she said, adding that she hoped her performance would inspire other women to take up triathlon or challenge themselves with goals they might’ve thought impossible. “I never thought 8:19 was possible. Hopefully that’s helped to promote triathlon and promote the growth of women in sport and that’s something that I’m really proud to do.”
Macel conceded that with Wellington so far up the road, the bike ride saw her hitting some lonely patches on the first lap—but by the time the run came along the remaining women in the top five were battling: “It was an exciting way to race, but a tough way to race,” she said.
Australia’s Belinda Granger, winner here in 2005, took fourth in 9:15:25, with Roth’s own Dagmar Matthes capturing the German national title with a fifth place finish in 9:32:05, reclaiming the crown she took in 2008.
Granger said she enjoyed the new run course’s loop through the center of the old marketplace: “There were so many people there cheering, you can’t run slowly. You just want to run fast for them, I’m a little disappointed with fourth but it’s still better than last year. I’m happy and I feel OK now. I’ll rest up and in four weeks’ time I have to do it all over again in Copenhagen [at Challenge Copenhagen].”
For more, visit www.challenge-roth.com.
July 18, 2010, Roth, Germany
2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, 26.2-mile run
1. Chrissie Wellington (GBR) 50:28 4:36:33 2:48:54 8:19:13
2. Rebekah Keat (AUS) (52:14/4:56:44/3:00:06 8:52:10
3. Tereza Macel (CZE) 50:18 4:58:46 3:16:56 9:09:29
4. Belinda Granger (AUS) 52:18 4:56:46 3:23:18 9:15:25
5. Dagmar Matthes (GER) 54:48 5:10:53 3:22:59 9:32:05