Why race Roth?

Updated: Sep 3, 2021


There is much media attention surrounding Daniela’s (Ryf) decision to race Challenge Roth and how this will affect the rest of her season:

  • Will Daniela (Ryf) be going for the record at Roth?

  • Why is she racing Roth at all?

  • How will she validate for Kona?

  • Is she going to race Zurich next week as well?

  • But what about the 70.3 World’s in Australia?

  • Will she still go for the Triple Crown?

Let’s address the following questions one at a time. Because they raise broader issues here than one individual athlete’s season.

Firstly, no the Angry Bird will not be going for the World Record at Roth. In fact I will be very surprised if she even wins the race. Up until this Monday she was not recovered from hypothermia suffered at Ironman Frankfurt two weeks ago. So I’ll be happy if she completes the course with no mishaps.

Does Daniela have the ability to one day break Chrissie’s magical record? Yes. She’s THAT good. But it will require a changing of training focus to exclusive Ironman distance, which is difficult while still balancing the needs 70.3 racing.

Then why race Roth at all? When Daniela joined our squad as a possible Rio team-mate for Nicola in late 2013 she was on the verge of retiring; disillusioned by poor form and constant sickness.


She had lost her love for the sport that she’d dedicated her young life to. In an effort to get her back to top form we agreed her racing would never be so pressured and to enjoy all the positive experiences that triathlon does offer. Three World Championships, a Kona win and a Triple Crown later and I would say this approach has served her quite well.

Roth is an iconic and great race. Roth is a fun race. So the question is not why she’s racing it, but why she shouldn’t be?

Under my watch 2016 will be a fun year. If that means aerobics classes and yoga so be it. University studies and home life will help keep the Bird grounded. Dec. 12, 2015

BUT THEN WHAT ABOUT KONA!!!? What about it? We tried to fit it in and make it work, but Daniela is not the only athlete whose Kona preparation this year has been disrupted because of a lack of organisation at Ironman events.

Having Championships Titles on each continent (Asia-Pacific, North and South America, Africa and Europe) is a wonderful concept. But it’s very difficult to run a professional athletic preparation off the basis of an amateur race series.

Championship Races The situation that has affected athletes trying to qualify through ‘Championships’ in 2016: The North American Championships (Ironman Texas) were so bungled that no-one even knew if the race was even going to be held until a couple of weeks beforehand.


April 16 IRONMAN Texas athletes, please see the below message regarding the 2016 race. We are committed to having the event on May 14. Thank you for your continued patience as we have worked diligently to secure a bike course for the 2016 Memorial Hermann IRONMAN North American Championship Texas...

April 30 Dear IRONMAN Athletes, Everyone at IRONMAN would like to thank you once again for your patience regarding the uncertainty with the 2016 Memorial Hermann IRONMAN North American Championship Texas bike course. While we had !nalized details for a new approved 112- mile bike course late last week...

May 4 Dear IRONMAN Athletes, As previously communicated, IRONMAN has evaluated all possible bike course options with local stakeholders and is unable to replace the mileage that was lost due to the recent flooding...

May 13 Dear IRONMAN Athletes – As we approach race day we wanted to give you an update following the standard pre-race water quality tests. It has been determined that the canal portion of the Woodlands Waterway near the planned swim finish is not currently suitable for swimming...


How can a professional athlete be expected to effectively plan their training season and Kona prep around that?

Then at the South American Championships (Ironman Brazil) drafting was so endemic and ridiculous you had accomplished veteran athletes vowing never to race there again.


Athletes like 10x Ironman winner and bike animal Ronnie Schildknecht racing the Championship for Kona points left frustrated as a peloton jumped on each other’s wheels with no officiating to be seen.



The reaction of professional veterans after Ironman Brazil.


Meanwhile, at the African Championships the leading woman (Jodie Swallow) was blown off the bike by the race helicopter and broke her elbow.