Top athletes look back at Challenge Gran Canaria

(Photo: Challenge Gran Canaria)

Last Saturday we saw Jan Frodeno and Nicola Spirig claim victory at Challenge Gran Canaria. While some athletes were in top shape for this race, others were disappointed by their performances. Through their social media updates we look back at the event through the eyes of a few athletes who competed at the event:

Sarissa de Vries (NLD) – 2nd place in women’s race

After an exciting battle with Sweden’s Lisa Norden (who finished third), Sarissa De Vries took second in the women’s race, making it one of her best races ever. “Still trying to wrap my head around what happened at Challenge Gran Canaria,” the Dutch athlete wrote on Instagram. And “fun fact,” she continues: “The first time I raced both Nicola and Lisa was back in 2009, when I raced my first European Championships as an elite. Nicola won, Lisa got fourth, and I finished 37th! They both have been such inspirations to me ever since. This made it extra special to have done the swim with Nicola yesterday, and having a tight battle for second at the bike and run with Lisa. It made me realize how far I’ve come, the ups and the downs along the way and to be grateful of where I am today.”

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A post shared by Sarissa de Vries (@sarissadevries)

Sara Pérez Sala – 6th place in women’s race

“Amazing”, are the first words that Sara Perez Sala uses to look back at her race. “They say first times aren’t easy, and that was definitely the case for this race. Yesterday I did my first real half (Miami was 1.6 – 60 – 16 km) on a tough course and that made it hard for me. It turned into a run like I could have never imagined, with quite some heat. Happy with my overall performance and satisfied with my numbers in all three disciplines, but even prouder of my attitude. The run – apart from being the ‘least good’ segment, is where I suffered the most due to stomach issues.” Perez Sala explained that she was already struggling in the heat on the bike. On the run that only got worse: “Five times I had to stop in the first 15 km. I will not lie: there was a moment when I felt desperate, but I didn’t let my thoughts get in the way and focused on just running and crossing the finish line. No matter who passed me, I wanted to finish and remind myself that this is the life I love.”

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Patrick Lange – 4th place in men’s race

He really took a risk, put himself out there and went all in on the run. He wasn’t rewarded with the result he hoped for, but definitely can’t blame himself for not trying. In the final kilometers of the run Germany’s Patrick Lange made a move to try and catch Pablo Dapena Gonzalez, who was in second place. He succeeded, initially, but soon dropped back again. “Done and dusted,” he writes on Instagram. “I gave my everything today and overcooked it a little at the wrong time during the run. Still happy to show the progress and hungry for more! But first: ice cream and an ice-cold beer.”

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A post shared by Patrick Lange (@patricklange1)

Nick Kastelein – 3rd place in men’s race

Australia’s Nick Kastelein may have been the surprise of the day. On the run he started to move up through the field, eventually running to an impressive third-place finish, sharing the podium with his long-time training partner, Jan Frodeno. “Nothing sweeter than a hard fought race! Third place and some ugly running towards the end there,” he laughs. Frodeno shares his enthusiasm. “Days like these…,” the German comments.