Challenge Versus Ironman Races
Pretty much the two main long distance triathlon series in the world. Ironman (IM) or WTC is now owned by a Chinese company & Challenge is German owned. Give me the choice between the two & I will pick a Challenge race but often for squad decision, I will do a WTC race once a year. Why? Because most people want to race an Ironman race & not a Challenge long distance triathlon, especially the beginners or the “Ironman virgin” as they are called. There is also Kona IM of course where triathlon started with a crazy bet between US Marines. I fully understand about wanting to go to Kona to race. I qualified 3 times but I never had the chance to go because of financial reasons & I admit I really want to go & experience the race one day. But apart from the Kona dream, I will chose Challenge most of the time & I want to race Roth one day. Why?
The races are cheaper, the atmosphere is always better, the food & hydration (incl. beer) is better at the finish, the people are friendlier & more accessible, the rules are flexible meaning that if you miss bike racking or rego deadline, you can still race, the drafting zone is 12m compared to 20m & lastly, you feel like a participant with Challenge & not just a number with WTC. Now it is up to you but there is not wrong with finishing your first Ironman by doing a Challenge race, especially in Roth.