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9 September 2021   |   Blog   |   

The Return of Roth

This weekend saw the return of the biggest party in the world of triathlon. Challenge Roth is an ultimate bucket list race for triathletes the world over. From the hot air balloons over the start, to the crowds on solar hill, and, of course, the finish line party, usual service at Roth is just one mind-blowing moment after another. It is a true celebration of sport.

About Challenge Roth

Started as an IRONMAN branded race in 1990, Challenge Roth is one of the longest established long distance triathlon races in the world. Held as an independent event since 2002, Roth has gone from strength to strength, soon becoming one of the most iconic triathlon courses in the world.

The race consists of a 3.8 km canal swim in the Rhine–Main–Danube Canal around 10 km outside Roth, then a 180 km, 2 lap ride round the Bavarian countryside, just south of the town. The ride is mostly flat, with one incline, the much famed ‘Solar Hill’, to be tackled once per lap. Then there’s the run with it’s much famed finish line party in the centre of Roth.

These days Challenge Roth is most renowned as the home of both the Men’s and the Women’s Long Distance Triathlon World Records.

  • Men’s record: Jan Frodeno, 2016 – 7:35:39
  • Women’s record: Chrissie Wellington, 2011 – 8:18:13

Challenge Roth is also where the Irish Long Distance Triathlon Record was set, by Bryan McCrystal, in 2018. His time of 8:07:37 earned him an incredible 8th place finish on the day.

It is a flat, fast, and electric race always throws up some incredible performances and no matter what happened, it was clear that 2021 was to be no exception.

Challenge Roth 2021 – #dreamscannotbecancelled

The last 18 months have been tough on everyone. For triathletes, a year without Roth is like a year without Christmas, so we were delighted to hear that, although it may not be quite the same as previous years, Roth 2021 was GO!

Laura recently joined the Sports Tours International Family in our Operations Team. Luckily for her Challenge Roth was to be her first trip!

Here’s Laura’s thoughts and feelings after a week in Roth….

Preparing the Finish Line Party


What were you expecting before you headed out to Roth?

I’m not sure what I was expecting to be honest. I’ve  only ever spectated at a tri event previously (my husband is a big fan), but that event wasn’t Roth.  I was excited to see one of our events in action, and see first hand the difference we make to our clients in resort. I have previously only repped and managed operations for “normal” holidays, so I was really excited for something new. 


Laura (far right) with the team, preparing for Operation Roth


Did the experience live up to your expectations?
The whole journey totally exceeded my expectations. The care and service we were able to give to each of the athletes was outstanding.  Right from the start there was arrivals transfers, and communications throughout, then helping take care of their equipment at all times, and simply being on hand for their needs and questions.


As part of our event services, we make sure your bike is well looked afteer and in full working order, with Mechanics on hand, should they be needed at any time.


One guy (who was not one of our clients) approached me at the end of the event. We were picking our client’s bikes from T2, and he asked if they were for non finishers. He was amazed when I said no. We pick up our clients bikes and bags and return them to the hotels for them! He thought that was brilliant.  The teams worked really well together and we had great support from all of the reps and the staff on the ground in resort.


Collecting the bikes from Transition


Roth itself is amazing.  The event takes place in the most beautiful of surroundings.  Going down to the canal side early in the morning, with the mist coming off of the warm water at sunrise, was simply, beautiful.  The canal was so still. It was like glass! The bike route is stunning. It passes through many local villages where the local support is astounding.


The mist on the canal at sunrise. The calm before the storm on race day morning.


There is a really amazing atmosphere on race day.  So many locals come out to support the visitors from around the world.  They were really appreciative (especially this year after so many cancelled events) that the event was going ahead.


What about  your personal highlights of the week? 


My highlights?  The early morning recce swim with our clients was great! It was nice getting their feedback pre-race. Everybody loved the location.  Then, on race day, I loved taking our spectators out on the field and showing them the best places to see their family members who were competing. We had gained a real affinity with our clients, so it was great to be able to go out with their loved ones and see them taking part and completing the race.

Swim Course recce in the beautiful Bavarian surroundings.


Any advice you would give to people thinking of taking on Challenge Roth?


My advice for anyone taking part would be…  Do it! It is an amazing event, with fantastic support, all in a beautiful area of the Bavarian countryside.  All the triathletes who competed previously,  and likewise this year, said it was the best Triathlon in the World.  I’m even trying to get my other half to swap from Bolton (North West of England) next year and do Challenge Roth instead. 


#dreamscannotbecancelled at the Finish Line Party


I cant wait to go back!


Great views of the riders, we make sure spectators, friends and family don’t miss a beat!


Sports Travel International are Official Partners of DATEV Challenge Roth. Therefore, not only can you guarantee your place on the start line, but you also get access to all our exclusive tour operator perks. Benefits of our package includes, Swim Course recces, Mechanic Services, Bike Transfers, Spectator Services, and of course, the all important bike pick up from transition.


If you would like to find out more about competing at Challenge Roth in 2022, please visit our dedicated page, HERE



Official tour partner for the biggest races on the planet