Rasmus Henning makes golden Roth debut
Dane Rasmus Henning showed he’s a real force to contend with in long-course triathlon with a 7:52:36 debut at his first Challenge Roth in a time that tickled the course record and world’s best mark that has stood here since Luc van Lierde went 7:50:27 in 1997. Henning, a top Olympic-distance athlete who took fifth at the Ironman World Championships last year with a broken hand, was always going to be a favourite, and he showed his class with a quick and measured performance that left onlookers sure the world’s best time was in play until the last meters of the run.
But the day also heralded the arrival of a new German force in the long-course world with 26-year-old Sebastian Kienle also dipping under eight hours in his first ever long-course race, posting a 7:59:06 to take second and the German national title after leading for much of the day.
Kienle’s transition into long-distance racing has seen him earn wins at the half distance at Challenge Kraichgau and Ironman Germany 70.3, and he said after the race that he was quiet about his expectations publicly—but he had hoped for a very good long-course debut. He got his wish, surging to the front on the bike on the climb at Greding near the 140km mark. By the time he hit the transition area he’d cracked Thomas Hellriegel’s 1997 bike course record of 4:14:45 with a 4:14:07 and started on the run with four minutes in hand over veterans like Spain’s Eneko Llanos, Henning and last year’s second–place finisher, Aussie Pete Jacobs. But Henning, who said he entered the race really confident in his run, used patience and a relentlessly even pace to overhaul Kienle when he faded on the second half of the run.
But the Dane’s run training came through as soon as he hit T2: “In the run for the last two months every single session has been diamond legs,” he said. “Six-hour rides, where I've been just completely stuffed, I've gone out to do a brick run just after and my legs were just flying. That's exactly what happened today.” Those diamond legs carried him to a remarkable 2:39:43 marathon and past Kienle after some 30km of running.
The day was not kind to two of the race favourites, with both Stadler and Belgium’s Rutger Beke ending their days early. France’s Sylvain Rota captured the world’s firefighter championship with an overall ninth-place finish.
1) Rasmus Henning (DEN) (46:57/4:23:25/2:39:43) 7:52:362
2) Sebastian Kienle (GER) (52:15/4:14:07/2:50:17) 7:59:06
3) Eneko Llanos (ESP) (47:01/4:24:26/2:48:01) 8:02:33
4) Pete Jacobs (AUS) (46:51/4:25:42/2:53:43) 8:08:56
5) Michael Goehner (GER) (52:20/4:29:3/2:48:11) 8:13:09