It may have seemed impossible given the start of the race, but Svenja Thoes has just won Challenge Malta. The Swiss made up for a big deficit while running and won the first edition of the race.
It was Chantal Sainter – formerly Chantal Cummings but recently married – who swam the fastest; after 27:17 minutes she came out of the water and then she had a gap of only four seconds on Margie Santimaria. Svenja Thoes took 30:41 minutes to swim and was thus considerably behind.
On the bike, Sainter first was truly unbeatable, as she soon had a one-and-a-half minute lead on Santimaria, who after the swim had a lot of trouble staying close to Sainter. Meanwhile, that was good news for Thoes, who was able to get closer and closer to Santimaria. That happened maybe even faster than expected, because Santimaria really wasn’t having a good day and so Thoes came alongside. However, this happened quite far behind Sainter, because in T2 Sainter still had a lead of almost three minutes on Thoes and of almost six minutes on Santimaria.
During the half marathon, however, Sainter’s lead disappeared almost to fast to believe. The three minutes became two, the two minutes became one and finally the very strong running Thoes even passed Sainter. Her ambition was clear: the win. She succeeded, because once she took over the lead in the race, her advantage only increased. In the end Thoes claimed victory after 4:17:17. Sainter finished second in 4:24:44 and Santimaria third after 4:29:50.