Discover the facts, videos and celebrations of triathlon over the last two decades of Challenge.
14 JULY 2002
12 July 2009
Chrissie Wellington smashes Yvonne van Vlerken’s record of 8:45:48 that was only established in Roth just one year earlier. With an unbelievable finishing time of 8:31:59, Wellington improves the record by almost fourteen minutes setting a new benchmark in women’s triathlon.
10 July 2011
Chrissie Wellington and Andreas Raelert give Challenge a double world record. Andreas Raelert puts up an excellent fight and won his first race in Roth in a 7:41:33 hours while Chrissie Wellington beat her own record of the previous year by exactly one minute, and crossed the finish line in 8:18:13.
Challenge Family Introduces 20m Drafting Rule
In order to promote safe and fair racing, Challenge Family set new standards and introduced a 20m draft zone for pro athletes, with 35 seconds passing time with Challenge Bahrain the first race to feature it. In addition Challenge Family listened to the female pro athletes’ comments and implemented a separate start from the pro men and a 30 minute gap to the following age group men, ensuring the race is truly their own.
New CEO for Challenge Family
“At Challenge Family we’re all driven by the same thing that drives athletes: the passion to push limits, to perform at our best and to enjoy what we do in style,” said Szlufcik. “As has been illustrated at each of our 31 events, Challenge Family goes above and beyond with the highest possible respect for the legacy of the triathlon community. And through our races, we are creating innovative platforms for sustained growth together with our partners sharing our ethical values and morals. Our objective is nothing less than quality leadership with 100% athlete focus.”
6 December 2014
The greatest field of the time ever seen over the half distance, including multiple Olympians and world champions, all competing for the greatest prize in triathlon. Helle Frederiksen and Michael Raelert took top honours in the first of the big money prize purses at US$500,000.
Extract from a letter from Challenge Family CEO, Zibi Szlufcik to then President of the PTU, Richard Allen.
“We wish to congratulate you on bringing this Union together and acknowledge the enormous effort it has taken. We feel very proud to have instigated this process with the Athlete Forums at Challenge Bahrain and Challenge Dubai, playing a part in assisting to lay the foundations for the group’s emergence. Challenge Family is committed to improving the standard of triathlon and the professional athletes standing for the betterment of our sport.”
It is widely acknowledged the roots of the PTO stem from that first Athlete Forum facilitated by Challenge Family in Bahrain in 2014.
17 July 2016
THE CHAMPIONSHIP IS BORN
On 3 June 2017 the inaugural The Championship was one by Lucy Charles-Barclay and Lionel Sanders. Based at the iconic Olympic training centre, the x-bionic sphere in Samorin, Slovakia, The Championship was established to bring together the best of the best at both an age group and professional level.
“At Challenge Family we’re driven by the same thing that drives our athletes: the passion to push limits, to perform at our best and to enjoy what we do in style. The Championship embodies this and it is our goal to set the new standard in triathlon.” Zibi Szlufcik – CEO Challenge Family.
9 December 2018
A new distance and a new style of racing around a NASCAR race track was established by Challenge Family in 2018, following on from the success of using a Formula 1 track at Challenge Bahrain and Challenge Daytona was born!
ESTABLISHMENT OF THE WORLD PRO BONUS
NEW ERA IN CHALLENGE FAMILY'S HISTORY
It was all change at the top as Jort Vlam took over from Zibi Szlufcik as CEO, in partnership with Richard Belderok and Jefry Visser. The HQ moved from Germany to The Netherlands. And then COVID struck – undeterred the new management team worked hard to keep races afloat and athletes engaged.
Just four races were able to take place in 2020.
A RETURN TO (RELATIVE) NORMALITY
Challenge Family entered 2021 with a commitment to bringing the opportunity to race back to the triathletes, despite the considerable protocols that needed to be followed due to the pandemic. It was also important to provide the pro athletes with the ability to earn a living. By the end of the year, 22 races out of 34 had taken place, including 18 pro races.
Bring on 2022 and another 20 years!