Challenge events

Considering a late entry in to Challenge Almere. Going to look at travel and accommodation this evening to see if it’s feasible.
I did a quick search but not seeing anything on here.
Any feedback/information on the Challenge events and Almere welcome please.


It used to get excellent reviews on TT1.0 and has been going 25 odd years now.

Put the kettle on, grab a cuppa, then have a read of this classic;

To be fair…it looks better than Copenhagen (to get to and whilst there) and is extremely well priced.
Hmm…I’m free that weekend and it’s a definite sub10 course

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Can be a touch windswept though…

Thanks for that, I’ll have a read whilst sat here eating all day!
Not sure I like the idea of windswept though after the weekend in the lakes.

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I think Challenge are cool; have done Roth which is amazing and I did Copenhagen when it was challenge and that was well done as well

Almere is a classic; does not get as much press as it should given its heritage
Results seem strange; winning times are fast but delta to good AG’ers is big - ie very few sub 10 times and in most Euro IM’s the winning times often sub 9 for AG’ers
Hardly any AG’er broke 5 hrs for the bike; given its slow flat it must be proper windy…


Well it doesn’t have the Kona lure, and maybe they are tougher on drafting :wink:


Roth is free is you go sub9. So fast AGers get a free race and an awesome PB.
All the M-Dots have Kona slots - Barcelona is great for a drafted sub10 (it’s on my radar!) and is for Kona for following year, so people might go there?
Also Austria is rapid, I think due to the road surfaces?
So everyone else is there.

This race seems to straddle an odd nomansland of dates. My guess is that all of the Uber quick AGers will have already raced, or be keeping the powder dry for Kona.

Yeah - both your answers make sense
I did Vichy in 2017 and I think 3 AG’er in 40-44 went sub 9…fck me
You could do a 9.12 and not get a KQ slot…and thats not that fast a course on a hot day and no wetsuit swim
Standard is so high

As you say maybe Almere has a gentler crowd, and its at a funny time of the season
I have to say it appeals - I have genuinely zero interest in Kona so why do IM?

I want to do Roth next yr; such an amazing event

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I’ve not done the IM-distance race at Almere, but I did do the ITU long course worlds there in 2008 on the day after the IM-distance race. We raced the O3 distance, so a 4km swim, 120km bike and 30km run.

The swim was in a sort of wide canal, with a beach start with a triangular loop back to the beach for an Aussie exit and then back out to the first buoy and then along the canal to a little harbour, where you exited up a ramp. Our swim was based on the IM course, but somehow instead of adding another 200m they managed to increase the distance to more like 5km :astonished: . The water was a bit choppy on the final outward leg in the main canal due to the wind.

For the bike we did 2 laps of the IM course. It was very flat and pretty dull and I can’t remember much about it really. It was pretty windy.

The run was flat and I think through woodland, but again not that memorable.

Like most of the people racing, we stayed in the big Center Parcs, which is just up the canal from the race site. There isn’t that much in Almere itself - I think it’s a “new town”, but Amsterdam isn’t that far away. We drove there from London, taking the tunnel. It’s a pretty straightforward drive from Calais.

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You’re not selling it.

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It was an experience, but other than using it as a fast, PB course, I don’t think I’ll be rushing back to race there again.

…so would getting my moustache plucked out one hair at a time.


What the road surface like and are there many tight turns?
Everyone talks about elevation and occasionally wind on courses; but to me its road surface which is the killer…IM Austria and Roth are not flat by any stretch - but on amazing roads and you fly…

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we were there in 2008 - I DNF’d the swim (got fed up swimming an overlong course and against that wind trying to chase a cut off so bailed - later found out they’d extended the cut off time due to the course issues but it was too late by then), and Mrs FB got DQ’d for drafting despite finishing the run as last athlete over it before cut off. not our finest day!

the course and venue is different to 2008 now - but the bike will still be windy whatever. it’s also supposed to be the centre for the ITU Multisport Champs in 2020 although I hear there are some difficulties over the long distance course that still need to be resolved

I was about to sign up…the last few posts are slightly depressing and making me think again!
Had a nice recovery jog today after the Lakesman and feel pretty strong (and uninjured!) compared to previous races so want to have another crack at it this year…

Maybe I’m being a bit harsh above - it’s a fastish, fairly low-frills race in a not-particularly-remarkable location. I would probably compare it to the Outlaw.

I can’t remember much about the bike course, but it sounds like they’ve changed it since I was there. The only really memorable bit was the section on a tow path alongside the canal, where there was 20+ huge wind turbines in a row, each painted in a slightly different pastel colour - it was like a giant Dulux colour chart :rofl: .I can’t remember much about the road surfaces, but do vaguely recall sections on concrete farm tracks.

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No, you’re really not helping :upside_down_face:

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I don’t think I’d have much problem persuading Mrs W to go back to Lanza, Nice, Klagenfurt or St George for a race/holiday, but I can’t see her being that impressed by the prospect of another trip to Almere :thinking:

Roth is definitely the Golden Egg; everything else attempts to trade off that reputation. Challenge were doing nicely in the late 00s, early teens; but they have trouble getting any long-term traction outside Germany these days.

Which is a huge shame, think major competition to the Ironman monopoly would be very positive for the sport.