Daniel Baekkegard crashed pretty badly during the bike, but the odds-on favorite withstood the pain, kept going and eventually took a powerful victory in the first edition of Challenge Canberra. His Challenge Canberra victory also means Baekkegard’s first 2023-victory.
There were several top athletes at the start in Canberra, but on paper Baekkegard was certainly the biggest favorite. During the swim, he was therefore immediately in the leading group; a total of six men came out of the water at about the same time. That happened in less than 25 minutes and at that point the battle in the race was still completely open.
Soon during the bike, unfortunately Baekkegard crashed and with that the Dane – apart from the pain that the crash undoubtedly brought with it – lost more than a minute of valuable time. Ahead of him, only Kurt McDonald and Caleb Noble remained in the lead, but Baekkegard was able to make up his lost time on the bike already. Yet the three men did not arrive in T2 together at the same time, as Noble missed a turn and also lost precious time in the closing stages of the bike, leaving only McDonald and Baekkegard to start the closing half marathon at the same time.
Already in the first kilometers of the run, McDonald proved no match for Baekkegard’s fast pace and thus the Dane ran to a magnificent victory. He won Challenge Canberra in a time of 3:54:04. McDonald finished second in 3:56:04 and Noble finished third in 3:58:28.