Michael Raelert ranks 4th at the Challenge Taiwan
Michael Raelert took fourth place at the Challenge Taiwan on Saturday. The Rostockian crossed the finish line in Taitung in 8:47:22 hours. In demanding climatic conditions, he finally ranked fourth behind Romain Guillaume from France who took the win in 8:30:15 hours in front of the Spaniard Michael Patrick Alonso-McKernan (8:37:33 hours) and Per Bittner from Germany (8:41:55 hours). Fifth place went to the New Zealander Cameron Brown in 8:54:58 hours. "It was not an outstanding result," said Michael Raelert, "but overall, I can say that I'm pleased especially with my mental performance today."
Right from the swim start, Michael Raelert clearly moved to the front. He reached the first transition zone after 3.8 kilometers in 47:03 minutes and was thus clearly ahead of his pursuers. Frenchman Romain Guillaume, who had come out of the water in 50:33 minutes, caught up with him after 90 kilometers on the bike. "Romain was riding extremely strong," said Michael Raelert later, "I could not go with his pace at this point of the competition." The Rostockian eventually completed the rest of the 180-kilometer course largely alone. Per Bittner and Michael Patrick Alonso-McKernan passed him only a few miles before they hit the second transition zone. "Especially mentally, this was a good test for me," said Michael Raelert, "I had some hard trainings in the past weeks, and I discovered some deep mental holes throughout the race. But I mastered these challenges well, both energetically and psychologically." Michael Raelert completed the bike course in 4:38:47 hours.
During the final marathon, the demanding climate became a noticeable factor. "It was really hard in combination with my previous training," said Michael Raelert. After exiting the second transition, he first caught Michael Patrick Alonso-McKernan, but he had to give away third place later again. "I was next to Per, too," said Michael Raelert, "but I was missing some power on the run. We all had to fight today due to these humid conditions." Michael Raelert finished the marathon in 3:14:47 hours. "It was a solid race," he said later, "but as the name of the race suggests: It was a real challenge today."
Photo credit: Challenge Taiwan