Walchshöfer Family Cancels 2020 Challenge Roth

Felix, Alice and Kathrin Walchshöfer expressed sadness today as they announced the cancellation of the 2020 DATEV Challenge Roth event.

“It was the most difficult decision we have had to make since Challenge was founded 19 years ago in 2002,” noted a media release. “We struggled for a long time, considered every possible alternative, but the continued spread of this terrible virus, that has reached almost every country in the world, led us to the painful realisation that there is no alternative but to cancel this year’s race.”

In line with the event’s consideration of the athletes, all registered athletes will be issued entry refunds, minus an administrative fee of 90 Euros. “We don't want to complain about the economic side of this event cancellation. On the other hand, we cannot hide the fact this has significant financial consequences for us. We have already made advance payments in many areas, ordered large quantities of equipment, materials and event technology and commissioned services. We will have to carry many of these costs. This will undoubtedly have a major impact on our company, the result of which is still unknown. Despite this difficult situation, we are reiterating our promise to our athletes: we stand by our word and will, contrary to many other organizers, reimburse entry fees minus the administration fee!”

While other major sports events have set optimistic goals for postponements for later in the year, Challenge decided the inherent uncertainty would place an unfair burden on athletes and volunteers. “We of course discussed this at length,” said Felix Walchshöfer. “However the coronavirus situation is extremely dynamic. According to experts it is still not clear whether the global situation will improve dramatically in the coming weeks. In order to avoid having to postpone the event and possibly disappoint athletes, spectators and volunteers with another cancellation, we decided to cancel the 2020 race completely early on.”

Felix remained optimistic about the future. “We have also planned registration for the next DATEV Challenge Roth on 4 July 2021. One thing is certain: EVERYONE who was registered for DATEV Challenge Roth 2020 will have the right to register for DATEV Challenge Roth 2021 before anyone else.”

While most other major triathlons are supported in large part by sponsors, DATEV Challenge Roth is supported primarily by the Walchshofer family and they made a request for help. “As you know, this is purely a family business, there is no other investor behind us who can support us or provide us with additional funds. Nevertheless, we have a deep desire and a firm intention to organize our DATEV Challenge Roth event with the help of our athletes, friends and supporters – and it will be a good one - to lead the future. That is why we want to put something to you: for those who can, we ask you to voluntarily waive part of the refund in support of Challenge, the proceeds of which provide an emergency fund to ensure the long-term survival of our brand.”

With global coronavirus cases rocketing past half a million and deaths at 24,000 and rising, Challenge officials said that the decision was in line with their philosophy: “Since Challenge was founded, it has been - and continues to be - our philosophy to put the well-being of the athletes at the heart of everything we do, regardless of the circumstances. Now we have reached a point where we can no longer guarantee the health and physical safety of the athletes, nor the high level of competition you expect.”

Challenge added that restrictions on activities placed by countless countries have solidified their decision. “We have been greatly concerned by the many registered athletes from so many countries whose training conditions are subject to massive restrictions, are affected by curfews, or who, in some cases, have even contracted SARS-CoV-2-Virus. We strongly believe in our responsibility for the athletes and it is important we live up to this responsibility. Therefore, we have no other choice.”

Challenge added that their concerns ranged far beyond the risks the DATEV Challenge Roth athletes would face. “Caring for our athletes, and also for all our volunteers and everyone involved in Challenge, is always the top priority at DATEV Challenge Roth, now more than ever. We are particularly thinking of our more than 7,500 volunteers who are the heart and soul of our event and who we must not and do not want to put at risk. The same applies to the emergency and rescue workers involved in the organization. In the current difficult situation, they are working almost around the clock to help people and, yes, to save lives. We cannot put any additional burden on them.”

The Walchshöfer family said that the spectre of this deadly virus put the pursuit of sport in perspective. “Germany and the whole world are facing a huge challenge. The ever-increasing number of cases, and unfortunately deaths, forces us to rethink and adapt our own view of many things that are dear to us as we face this cruel reality. We have to learn that sport, especially our beloved sport of triathlon, actually isn’t the most important thing in life. At the moment it's about things that are bigger and more important than triathlon. It's about curbing an aggressive and deathly virus, and all of us can only hope and believe that it will be defeated soon.”