Inaugural Challenge Gdansk ready to welcome some of the best pro athletes

Pablo Dapena Gonzalez. (Picture: Instagram Pablo)

After a few years away, Challenge Family returns to Poland this weekend for Challenge Gdansk. This race will undoubtedly be exciting, given the strong field of pro athletes in both the men’s and women’s races.

In the men’s race, most eyes will likely be on Pablo Gonzalez Dapena. The Spaniard has competed in several Challenge Family races in recent months, regularly finishing near the front, but has not managed to win a race this season. He will definitely want to change that in Gdansk. It won’t be easy though as he will be up against Matt Trautman, among others. The South African is perhaps more of a long-distance specialist (he won Challenge Almere-Amsterdam in 2019, setting a course record of 7:50:15), but can also do well over the middle distance.

Others to watch for include Britain’s Thomas Davis, along with Germany’s Marcus Herbst and Franz Loeschke. Cyril Viennot (FR), Alessandro Degasperi (IT) and Evert Scheltinga (NL) also arrive as contenders.

Among the women we expect to see some fierce competition between four world class athletes: Emma Pallant, Judith Corachan, Lisa Norden and Sarissa de Vries. On paper, Dutchwoman De Vries is perhaps the biggest favorite: a few weeks ago she won Challenge Riccione, then took a break to be as good as possible for the race in Gdansk. Her competition, though – Pallant (GBR), Corachan (ESP) and Norden (SWE) are always good, so they also arrive as favorites.

Germany’s Carolin Lehrieder and Margie Santimaria are also on the start list and could contend for the win. Local favorite Ewa Komander will enjoy the support of the home crowd, too.