Performances of the Year 2021: Record-setting races at Challenge Almere-Amsterdam

Sarissa de Vries wins the world championship in Almere. Photo: Jose Luis Hourcade

It is the oldest race in Europe, and one of the longest-running full-distance races in the world. This year Challenge Almere-Amsterdam, which began in 1983, also served as the World Triathlon Long Distance World Championships and triathlon fans got to see two incredible races for the world title that featured some of the fastest times ever seen for a full-distance race.

We recapped the race in words and pictures.

Normally considered an extremely tough course because of the strong winds and long, open stretches on the bike course, conditions were near-perfect for this year’s race in Almere. The 20 degree Celsius water temperature was just cool enough for wetsuits to be allowed. Once out on the bike course one of the stretches of the course that typically features a tough headwind ended up featuring a strong tailwind, helping the athletes blaze to record-setting bike splits.

While the times were exciting enough, for 35 km of the run Kristian Hogenhaug (DEN) and Jesper Svensson (SWE) ran stride for stride before the Dane was able to pull away for an incredible 7:37:46 finish, the second-fastest full-distance race at a Challenge-Family race (behind Jan Frodeno’s 7:35:39 at Challenge Roth in 2016) and the fifth-fastest full-distance time ever. Svensson’s 7:39:26 is the seventh-fastest time over the distance.

In the women’s race Sarissa de Vries (NED) thrilled the crowd with an incredible 8:32:05 performance that not only netted her the world title, but was the ninth-fastest full-distance time ever.

In the end seven men would finish the race under eight hours, while seven women would break the nine-hour barrier. You can read our story not he 10 fastest men’s and women’s full-distance triathlon times here.

Challenge Almere-Amsterdam will continue to host major championships next year – it has just been announced as the Europe Triathlon Long Distance Championships in 2022.

For 35 km Kristian Hogenhaug and Jesper Svensson ran together. (Photo: Jose Luis Hourcade)