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Powerman Zofingen Long Distance World Duathlon Championships

Author: Rob Kennard, 11/09/17

Zofingen - Rob Kennard

So, where to begin? Well, first Powerman Zofingen is one of the toughest multisport events in the World, it has a long and proud history and a must do for any duathlete. Secondly, for me personally Powerman Zofingen was the big goal of the year, I set myself a personal target of a top 10 age group finish and first British athlete in my age group.

The race in short is a 10km run, 150km bike and a 30km run.

10 km run (2 x 5km)

  • Zofingen - Rob Kennard
  • Zofingen - Rob Kennard

The start line is on a long (around 1.5 km) tough hill, at the top you turn right off the tarmac and onto the forest roads, there are a few undulations through the forest before returning back down into the transition zone and out again for lap 2. I ran a comfortable pace and was surprised to stop the watch at 40:39, perfect start to the race.

150 km biking (3 x 50 km) and around 2100 metre elevation gain

Straight out onto the first lap with some serious climbing in front of me, the roads and surface are fantastic so I had to hold back and keep my target of averaging 20mph. On flat road’s I managed to catch and pass a lot of the faster runners then at 8km you begin the first climb of around 5km.

Going uphill I began to lose a few places, but manage to gain them back on the road to the tough hill Bodenberg. The climb is again about 5km but seriously tough in places, again I lost a few places on the climb. 14km of great roads followed until you start the third climb, this is around 3km in length.It’s then 10km back into Zofingen to start your next lap with a nasty little incline at 47km. I found the 2nd lap very lonely but managed to keep my average speed at 20mph. Onto the 3rd lap I began to struggle a little with cramp in my quad which slowed me down but still managed to finish the 150km
in 4:49:02 average speed 19.1mph.

30 km run (4 x 7.5 km) – with steep hills

This is probably what makes Zofingen so brutal. Running 30 km on legs that are already tired, I don’t really know how to explain it, just insane. And this year the race course was a bit longer/harder than the previous years due to some roads being damaged by flooding in July. 

Out of T2 I went trying to find my running legs and straight into the climbing. After about 1km you get to the big climb, I decided I would walk up the hill as I still had a long day in front of me. Once at the top I continued to run and climb to the turnaround point at 3.75km then it was a run all the way back to the cruel lap turnaround point next to the finish line. Lap 2 was the same strategy as Lap 1, walk the hill run the rest. It was coming out onto Lap 3 where the wheels (well legs) fell off, I struggled having to run/walk and stretch a few times even before getting to the big climb. Once at the top and through the feed station I managed to get back running (ish) to the turnaround point and then all the way back to start my last lap (Lap 4). Don’t know whether it was the knowledge it
was the last lap or the support from Sarah and Abigail but went out feeling a little better in the legs. With loads of support from other GB athletes out on the course who could see I was on my last lap, I managed to finish the 30km run in 3:05:47, this was possibly my only disappointment of the day as I had a time of 2:45:00 as my goal.

Crossing the finish line to find I had achieved my main goal of sub 9hrs, finishing in a time of 8:42:26, 82nd overall, 8th in Age Group and first Brit in AG, was a fantastic feeling and made all the training and hard work over the last few months’ worth it. This is my third duathlon this year in the Powerman series and I would certainly recommend this race, and the other Powerman Duathlons, as they are well organised and offer challenging courses against athletes from all over the world.


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