The Challenge Family has announced three new races recently in Spain, Italy and Thailand. It’s exciting times, not only for the brand, but the sport of triathlon as athletes are offered exciting new races in spectacular locations. We managed to grab a few words with Challenge Family CEO, Felix Walchshöfer, who was at the launch of the Challenge Phuket Triathlon Festival, to find out more.
Tell us about the new races you have just launched?
We have announced three races in two weeks and it may sound spontaneous, but we worked hard for two years to set up these races in Vitoria, Rimini and Phuket. Vitoria is absolutely beautiful and we are working with top triathlete Eneko Llanos on this event. It’s located in the Basque country and the 3.8K swim is in the stunning Ullibarri-Gamboa Lake that is located in the beautiful Landa Provincial Park. The two-lap 180K bike course passes through the scenic Alava plains as well as visiting several historic Basque villages and running alongside the Elguea mountain range. The marathon starts and finishes in the cultural heart of the medieval city of Vitoria, surrounded by the spectacular architecture of the Plaza de España.
Rimini sounds like an exciting place to have a race?
Rimini is awesome because it has two faces. It has a great selection of hotels to suit all pockets and has a selection of beach clubs that are all fun with plenty to do for the family. Then two streets behind there is an ancient historical town that is amazing. I used to do training camps here when I was younger and I know just how good the roads are and how pretty the scenery is. Chris McCormack has already announced his intentions to race at the inaugural Challenge Rimini.
What about your move into Asia?
Phuket is big for us like our move into North America with Challenge Penticton. This is our move into Asia. To get the oldest most prestigious race in North America and to now have the oldest and most prestigious race in Asia makes it great for us. Both are quality races and the organisers are focused on the athletes and their experience. This meant they were a great fit for Challenge and what we want to deliver to our racers.
Will we see more Challenge events in Asia now?
Asia is a top priority. We expect to develop a full series of half and full distance events in Asia over the next few years. We think that our brand of triathlon is right for Asia because we have a long-term perspective that allows us to contribute to the development of the sport in our host countries and engage our local communities. We’re very much looking forward to starting this journey with Laguna Phuket Triathlon.