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Challenge Roth Aims at Triathlon's throne

Challenge Roth vs Kona, Sodium Bicarbonate gains, and running off the bike

Good morning everyone,

The other day while running I was heading out along a trail and just got caught up in the pure enjoyment of being out in nature. I wasn’t exactly paying attention to the storm system heading in my direction until it was too late. I made the turn to head home with a nice tailwind at my back thinking “I should get home before this hits.” But soon enough the soft droplets of rain started, the wind got a lot heavier, and it was clear I was about to get soaked!

Which is exactly what happened. The heavens opened up, and the temperature plummeted. It was a rough stretch before the system quickly blew through, and I found myself finishing in the sun. It was a reminder that training sessions, racing, and entire seasons are made of these testing moments. There’s always going to be another side, we just have to do our best to get through them 💪

In today’s edition:

  • 👑 Will Challenge Roth become triathlon’s bucket list race?

  • 🧂 How this grocery store staple can lead to your next PB

  • 🏃‍♀️ And is your run form different after cycling?

Thanks for being here.

-Matt Sharpe, newsletter editor

Headshot of Matt Sharpe

Have a triathlete in your life who can't stop swimming, biking, or running? Fire this off to them. Forwarded from a friend? Sign-up for free. 


Challenge Roth Takes Aim at Triathlon’s Throne

The famous crowd at Solarer Berg - AsiaTri

What is it: Two new Challenge Family events in North America - Challenge Cap-Quebec, and Challenge Espirit - will offer lottery slots for the opportunity to compete at the incredibly popular Challenge Roth.

  • A combined 30 slots will be offered at both events in a random draw.

Revered Roth: The full Iron-distance Challenge Roth, located in Bavaria, Germany, first took place in 1982. Since then, it has grown into one of the sport’s most popular and iconic events. The event is known for its incredible atmosphere, with over 250,000+ spectators, many of them lined along the famous Solarer berg hill.

  • The 3,500+ race entries for the 2024 event reportedly sold out in 40 seconds!

Kona killer? This announcement comes on the heels of Ironman announcing its dates for their 2025 World Championships which are split by gender and locations (Nice and Kona).

  • Previously the undisputed biggest race in triathlon, the cracks in Kona’s armor are starting to show as local pushback against the scale of the event, coupled with the splitting of the World Championship race has triathletes the world over increasingly eyeing Roth over the Big Island.

Tempo’s take: The typical person on the street may not know much about triathlon. But if they do, chances are they’ve heard of Kona. It’s an event that has the richest history in the sport, and ultimately it is probably the only aspect that has reached mainstream consciousness.

However, with locals uninterested in expanding the races’ footprint, and proof-of-concept of non-Kona Ironman World Championships already achieved in St. George, Utah (2021) and Nice (2023), the race has certainly lost some of its luster.

  • We don’t think the folks at Challenge Roth necessarily want to become “the next Kona,” but rather, the bucket list race that Kona used to be.

  • And if the race is selling out in 40 seconds (!?!?), then clearly, there is a scarcity factor that shows there is A LOT of value in getting a slot for Roth.

Ironman has until 2026 to figure out the future of its World Championship. Will it cede the bucket list title to Roth? Or will Kona come back swinging?

Does Challenge Roth have more appeal than Kona?

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The best sports stories you’ve never heard

Discover the most inspiring underdog athlete stories the mainstream media overlooks. It’s the tales you won’t normally hear.

Discover how athletes overcame their challenges to become the best at what they do. The Underdog is read by 12,000+ sports fans.


⚡ Bicarb bonanza: Can this commonly available supermarket staple help you smash your next race? Quite possibly. A mainstay in the pro ranks, sodium bicarbonate can help buffer lactic acid, letting you train and race harder, for longer. Read more about how this simple supplement can lead to success. [TrainingPeaks]

🏃‍♂️ Jelly-legged form: As many of us know running after cycling can be a little awkward, and sometimes pretty painful! Running and cycling require different positions and mechanical demands. But that that mean your run form will be different off the bike? This video explains. [GTN]

🏊‍♀️ Sighting for success: For some athletes racing is just around the corner. So there’s no better time to throw in an open water-specific drill into your training routine. This video demonstrates how to practice the critical drill of sighting. [Swim360]

🔨 DIY Tri: A DIY Ironman? This person did one, and they brought a bunch of their friends and family out for the experience. The logistics were a little bit complex, but this definitely has us thinking about our own DIY tri 🤔[Reddit]


Maybe if we hop a slightly different way we won’t feel it? 😬


E-Sports triathlon: The supertri E World Championships (formerly The Arena Games) a blend of real and virtual triathlon racing will crown the 2024 World Champions in London on April 13th. [Supertri]

Elite octogenarian: Daphne Belt is celebrating her birthday in August and celebrating the usual way - by competing in 85 triathlons! [Sussex Express]

Women’s tri series: USA Triathlon has announced 27 races will be featured in its women’s-only triathlon series. [USA Triathlon]

Bahamas bash: The 11th annual Potcakeman Triathlon sees the return of a long-time sponsor and will continue to raise valuable funds for BAARK, the Bahamas Alliance for Animal Rights and Kindness. [Tribune 242]

Cork champions: The inaugural Cork City Triathlon will take place July 13-14 and feature closed roads and take in Cork’s Pairc Ui Caoimh and Marina Park area. [Endurance.biz]

Tasmania terminated: Tasmanian triathletes will be disappointed to learn that 70.3 Tasmania has been dropped from the 2025 calendar. No specific reason was given. [Pulse Tasmania]


Here’s what Tempo readers said about supertri and their push for more shorter races.

Reader: Short course racing in correlation to the long course is (IMO) far more entertaining. It's fast, it requires more skillfull athletes - both on swimming and biking. Long course races are good as background noise while doing stuff around the house, but short courses - especially SuperLeague format - are much more fun to watch in a single sitting.

Reader: I think that because each one (Supertri, T100 and IM) specializes in a very different distance, there is room for all 3. But they are each probably too insecure and nervous to work together and with each other which I believe would help the success of all 3.

Reader: I've been in the sport for 25 years and have seen so many things come and go. Eventually, the money will run out, it always does. Except for Ironman...

Reader: So fun to watch as a spectator! The energy is incredible!

Reader: Actually: I'd love to see more triathlon in general on mainstream television. It's fabulous we have access to watch races on specific sites, but it would be even better if it could become far more mainstream. The main reason this would be so good would be to engage grassroots participation in our wonderful sport by media exposure.


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