Magnus Ditlev: ‘Possibility of world record did not make race easier’

With a swim time of 46:23, a bike time of 3:59:25 and a run time of 2:34:18, Magnus Ditlev not only rushed to victory yesterday at Challenge Roth – his third win at the prestigious race – but also to a new world record over the classic distance: 7:23:24. Quite early in the marathon, the Dane knew that he might improve on his own world record from the year before (7:24:40), but that didn’t necessarily make the race any easier. “As a result, I had to keep pushing and it kept hurting,” he said.

A few hours after finishing, Ditlev is already fresh behind the finish line, waiting for the dozens of athletes who finish at the back of the field and take 15 or sometimes even over 16 hours for Challenge Roth. “I’ve felt worse after a race before,” he laughs. “I actually feel pretty good.” It is indicative of the recovering ability of the now three-time Challenge Roth winner, because a few hours earlier he logically gave everything to win the race and smash his own world record.

After about 20 kilometers into the marathon, he realized that world record was within reach. “I asked my coach and then decided to go for it,” said Ditlev, who had been minutes ahead of his first pursuers all day and seemed certain of victory even then. “On the one hand, improving my own time was an extra incentive to keep pushing hard, but on the other hand, it also made the race a lot harder. In any case, it’s nice that it worked out. I really have no idea what will be the limit in terms of records. Racing goes faster every year.”

This was evident in the women’s race as well, where Anne Haug won in a time of 8:02:34, cutting six minutes off the world record set last year by Daniela Ryf. Equally striking, Haug ran her marathon in 2:38, just four minutes slower than Ditlev. “That’s really next-level,” the Dane commented on that performance.

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