Posted by: David D. Daggett | July 17, 2018

Always Better

Challenge Roth 2018

***Click here  to go directly to Challenge Roth 2018 slideshow ***

***Facebook photos here***

Always Better 

            Constant improvement to be better.  Betterment.  It seems like I preach it all the time to other athletes and around the office.  My mantra, and you have seen it before many times, is “Consistent effort over time toward a worthy goal always produces positive results . . . every day, every day, every day!”  But, does it really happen?  Do we really do it?

It has been my amazing privilege to compete in the most iconic ultra-distance triathlon in the world in Roth, Germany eight times.  What amazes me, is that as good as it is, and, as glowing as my memories are, it seems to be even better every time.


Felix Walchshoefer

Challenge Roth has an amazing history.  The latest addition was the 35th anniversary.  I fell in love with the race, the people, and the area the first time I was there in 1989, and this last time made my eighth finish on that magical course.

From a developmental and a business perspective, the question is how this does all happen.  Certainly Challenge Roth is the underdog on the world triathlon stage to the dominant race producer, Ironman.  In fact, prior to 2002 Challenge Roth was part of the Ironman family.  At the time of transition, Herbert Walchshoefer ushered Challenge Roth as an independent race on the world stage.  After Herbert’s untimely death in 2007, his son Felix, along with his sister and mother, took over leadership of the race and organization.

Felix was just 9 years old, I believe, when I first met him tagging along with his father.  It is amazing to continue to reunite with him over the years and watch the race continue to improve.  After each addition of the race, Felix goes back through every aspect to look for areas in which the race can be improved and the athlete experience bettered.  His obvious love for the athletes, volunteers, and community exudes in all he does.

Solar 2018-1

The Greatest Spot in the Tri-World – Solarer Berg

The race experience in Roth, Germany is like no other.  Close to 300,000 spectators, 7,000 volunteers, and the villages and surrounding areas that embrace the athletes and every aspect of the event.  Of course most of us only see the actual race festivities and not the behind the scenes the other 11½ months it takes to make the event truly iconic and one of a kind.

Each year Felix and team review the race looking for areas to improve and make it even better – better for the athletes, family, friends, and the entire community.  The course, the aid stations, the 80 draft marshals on motorcycles, the post-race food, and even the post-race foot soaks in healing salts that include a calf rub are all results of the ongoing betterment plan.


Foot soak and calf rub!

It has been my pleasure to consider Felix a friend, a mentor, and a shining beacon for all the positive aspects of triathlon. Of course, as a friend recently reminded me, I can be prone to only see the positives and throw in a bit of hyperbole, to which I plead guilty.  However, when it comes to Felix, the Walchshoefer family, and the race organization I believe the praise and hyperbole are 100 percent appropriate.  They are an example to me that yes, we really can focus on continual improvement so that we are always becoming a better version of who we are.

Many thanks to the Challenge Family – I can’t wait to return!

Always better,


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