Ryf wins Challenge Roth, falls short of Wellington record

Daniela Ryf made a brave run at Chrissie Wellington’s women’s Ironman-distance record at Roth, but after 10 kilometers of the run the Swiss star surrendered her quest and settled for an 11:35 margin of victory over runner-up Laura Siddall of Great Britain.

In a matchup with Wellington’s historic 8:18:13 record set six years ago at Roth, Ryf gave it her best but in the end fell well short of both Wellington’s mark and Ryf’s own 8:22:04 effort last year.

“Like I said before the race I didn’t think it would be realistic to get the record,” Ryf told Challenge media. “But that didn’t stop me trying. Sometimes you get a race where you can push it through and today was not easy and I really had to fight for it.”

On the swim, Ryf’s 52:34 split was 2:45 slower than Wellington’s 49:49. Ryf gained back 7 seconds with a 1:49 mark in T1 to trail Wellington’s mark by 2:39. Ryf ignited hope for a new record with a sizzling-fast 4:37:33 bike split which was 3:06 quicker than Wellington’s 2011 split and gave Ryf a 26 seconds lead on Wellington’s 2011 progress.

The marathon is called the race of truth and it proved true today. After 10 kilometers of the run, Ryf’s 39:05 split was a respectable 3:55 pace per kilometer. If maintained, she would have finished in 2 hours 47 minutes and approximately 8:21:00 for the whole event. Halfway through the run, Ryf’s pace slowed a bit and her 1:26:57 split would have led to a 2:54 marathon – and would have missed Wellington’s race record by 11 minutes.

“I started the run well – the crowds were amazing and they pushed me really hard and I took that energy and I was going well but it didn’t really end up that well. The last 25km was very hard – I was struggling. It was one of the hardest races for my legs. They got really challenged which is a good thing – that is why we do sport because we like to challenge ourselves and I definitely did that today. I didn’t walk, I just ran really slowly! My legs were so heavy and I tried to lift them but they didn’t work smoothly!”

From that point on, Ryf eased off the pace and finished with a time of 8:40:03 with an 11:35 margin over runner-up Laura Siddall of Great Britain (3:05:40 run) and 17:11 over 3rd-place Lisa Roberts of the U.S. Yvonne Van Vlerken of Netherlands finished 4th, 17:37 behind Ryf.

Siddall was elated with her runner-up finish. “To come second to Daniela, a world class athlete and world champion is awesome,” she told Challenge media. “I’m pretty chuffed and have continued my string of second places for the year!!

Race recap

Daniela Ryf began her day with a women’s-fastest 52:34 swim which gave her a 23 seconds lead on pro rival Heather Wurtele of Canada, 5:43 on Laura Siddall of Great Britain, 5:49 on Martina Dogana of Italy, 6:03 on Steph Corker of Canada, 8:47 on Corina Hengartner of Switzerland, and 8:58 on Lisa Roberts of the USA. Twelve-time sub-9 hour Ironman distance finisher Yvonne Van Vlerken of Netherlands was over 9 minutes arrears.

Crucial to her quest to break Chrissie Wellington’s 8:18:13 women’s Ironman-distance record time, Ryf started out with a 2:45 deficit to Wellington’s 2011 swim.

Ryf then began a sizzling bike split which had a devastating effect on her 2017 rivals and was a counterattack on Wellington’s 2011 performance.

By 37.5km, Ryf had a 2:43 lead on Wurtele, 8:36 on Siddall, 12:25 on Roberts, 12:38 on Hengartner, and 14:25 on Dogana.

After a women’s-record 4:37:33 bike split, Ryf had a 13:03 lead on Siddall, 13:58 on Van Vlerken, 27:25 on Roberts, and 28:52 on Hengartner.

In her battle with Wellington’s 2011 record, Ryf bested her British rival’s bike split by 3:06, gave back 5 seconds with a slower transition, and began the run with a 21 seconds lead on the record.

Facing a daunting task in matching Wellington’s 2:44:35 run in 2011, Ryf started her marathon with a 39:05 split for the first 10 kilometers. While that was a creditable 3:55 per kilometer pace, it projected to a 2:47 marathon which would put Ryf 2 minutes 30 seconds short of the record.

Halfway through the marathon, Ryf had a 15:46 lead on Siddall, 20:11 on Van Vlerken and 25:01 on Roberts. Ryf’s half marathon split of 1:26:57 - a 2:54 marathon pace - signaled a surrender in her attempt to beat Wellington’s Roth record.

To be updated

DATEV Challenge Roth
Roth Germany
July 9, 2017
S 2.4 mi. / B 112 mi. / R 26.2 mi.



Daniela Ryf (SUI) 8:40:03
Laura Siddall (GBR) 8:51:38
Lisa Roberts (USA) 8:57:14
Yvonne Van Vlerken (NED) 9:07:40
Corina Hengartner (SUI) 9:25:28
Jane Hanson (GBR) 9:33:15 *F45-49
Georgina Gadient (SUI) 9:42:36 *F35-39
Steffi Jansen (GER) 9:43:02 *F35-39
Julie Von Gruenigen (SUI) 9:46:05 *F20-24
Sasja Vinther (DEN) 9:46:44 *F30-34