Fantastic win at Challenge RothJuly 22, 2010
This Sunday I made my big impression into the history books as I won Challenge Roth in the time 7 hours, 52 minutes and 36 sekunds - the fifth best Ironman ever and with a finishing marathon of 2:39:43 on a day where I could run like the wind.
The 2:40 barrier is rarely broken in an ironman marathon and almost never for a winner of the race, so I'm truly satisfied and proud that I can perform like this and make such a result.
Before the competition I had hoped to be able to break 8 hours, a performance only 11 other athletes had reached. The fact that I was able to get that far under and even close to the 13 year old world record is amazing.
Challenge Roth is a fantastic competition with a world class venue. There is up to 200,000 spectators in a city that normally has 40,000 inhabitants. The organizers do their utmost to make the stay as pleasant as possible for both the pro's and the age groupers.
I had a great time in Roth, and I hereby send my great appreciation and thanks to the Challenge family for all their hard work making Challenge Roth a spectacular ironman event, the spectators that supported us all with the greatest enthusiasm, my home stay family who made my stay perfect and all the athletes who competed in this event for making this such a memorable day for me.
Award ceremony Monday
I attended the award ceremony on Monday - a couple of hours in the middle of the day. After that I ate a late lunch with some of the other pro's and the boys from Challenge Copenhagen, who were down here.
Then home and pack and a quick 15 minutes on my back before the volunteer party where some of us pro's was on stage. Later in the evening we had a great party with the organizers etc, so I had a nice day again Monday.
At the award ceremony the top-10 in all age groups were presented on stage, with the pro's coming on at the end. I held a short speech where I talked about how impressed I am with the Challenge concept that emphasizes the importance of us all being one big triathlon family, that I admire all the age groupers who in spite of having a full time job and a family to attend also finds the time for the hard training it takes to do an ironman (many of them in splendid times!).
And for this they earn my deepest respect. Training for an ironman often has great sacrifices. Even though I myself can have doubts in the proces when training is bad and you miss the wife and kids and they miss you, you find out that it is worth it when you reach your goals.
I am proud of the age groupers who can manage this balance in a tightly packed family/job life.
In the city of Roth, the people in the city was so kind to put new plates on their cars so they all had my initials 'RH' on them. In my speach I told them how impressed and honoured I was by this gesture, and that I really felt welcome. But now that I was leaving is was okay by me that they put the regular plates back on the cars when I left :-)
Happy about the great result
I am as satisfied with my performance as a man can be. I might have a really tiny regret that I was so close to the world record without getting my hands on it, but it is not even close to put a shadow on my win and performance. It feels great to put my mark on triathlon history.
I was only the 12th athlete in the world under 8 hours, I now have the 5th best ironman time of all and I was the first in 11 years going under both 8 hours and 2:40 on the marathon. I would call that a fairly reasonable day at the office!
See a list over all who have gone sub 8 hours here.
I had an optimal swim exiting the water just behind Pete Jacobs. Eneko Llanos was a few seconds behind, but we managed to get a 20 second advantage over him when exiting T1, so we made him work on the bike.
The swim was fine but times in general was a little slower than last year.
Pete and I maybe hit the bike leg a little too fast the first 40 km. At the beginning we even gained more time on strong bikers as Kienle and Stadler so I said to Pete that it might be a good idea to slow down a little so we didn't blew up later in the day.
My plan was to delay the time where they caught up as much as possible, so when we had a 5 minute advantage at the 40 km mark, we would still not be caught up until the 100 km mark if we slowed the pace a little. I could live with that as I knew that my running was really good.
Out on the run I immediately felt good and my legs felt fantastic. I could ease into a steady and comfortable 3:45/km pace and could hold that pace throughout the marathon.
When I hit a small hill at around 39 km, I could suddenly feel my legs though. If I ran shoulder to shoulder with another guy for the win on the last 3 km, I'm sure I would have more in me, but that hill killed my legs and I eased off a little heading for that fantastic finish line.
I can still get better on the bike (it was quite windy and I biked alone the last 50 km) and this result makes me more confident that I have what it takes to win in Hawaii.
The way I felt in my legs at km 39 on the marathon in Challenge Roth was the way I felt at Hawaii last year when I reached 10 km.
Now I have a couple of weeks with family time and only little training so the body can recover. I look very much forward to spend time with my girls.
I will also be building up my Specialized Shiv (rode the Transition in Roth) so it will be ready for the months of training leading up to Hawaii.
On my Facebook fan page you can see pics from the competition. Just press the 'like'-button.