“We are triathlon” is the Challenge Family catchcry – and it’s true.
This iconic triathlon series that began in Roth, Germany, in 2002, has grown to 21 events worldwide and continues to expand, taking the family concept with it.
In saying “We are Triathlon” the Family includes everyone involved – athletes, volunteers, sponsors, supporters and spectators. All are treated as valued individuals.
“Challenge Family is all about bringing triathlon back to its roots, where you meet the people behind the event, where you’re welcomed across the finish line by them and where you are truly made to feel that you share the same passion,” says four-times world triathlon champion Chris McCormack, of Australia.
Furthermore, Challenge Family really is a family affair; run by Alice, Felix and Kathrin Walchshöfer, who are continuing the legacy started by their husband and father, the late Herbert Walchshöfer.
Since the first triathlon in Roth in 1984, the Walchshöfers have been involved in the sport. In 2001 they decided to break away from the Ironman stable. In 2002, Herbert and his team delivered the first Challenge race and the legend of Roth grew to become the world’s largest long distance race. These days more than 5,000 triathletes and 200,000 spectators make the pilgrimage to Challenge Roth to what, in the words of Britain’s Chrissie Wellington, is “simply the best race in the world”.
In 2007, the first Challenge race outside Europe was held at Lake Wanaka, New Zealand. CEO Felix Walchshöfer competed himself in 2009 (13:27:37) and again in 2010 (14:00:32).
In 2009 races were added in France, Spain and Germany. This year the inaugural Challenge Penticton in Canada was so successful the Family has decided to add a half distance in 2014 to meet demand from athletes for the shorter race.
There are three new half distance triathlons planned for Australia, as Challenge Family returns to that triathlon scene; Challenge Melbourne, Challenge Forster and Challenge Bateman’s Bay.
The Family has Challenge Philippines scheduled for 22nd February and
Challenge Atlantic City marks their launch into the USA on 29th June. England will add Challenge Weymouth, on Dorset’s World Heritage Jurassic Coast, on 14th September.
Challenge Wanaka, on 18th January, is considered the world’s most scenic triathlon, set against a background of New Zealand’s Southern Alps.
More than 35,000 athletes now race in Challenge Family events on four continents – and the Walchshöfer family has no plans yet to stop it growing further