Challenge Family announces Challenge Laguna Phuket Tri-Fest

Petreus and Hauschildt Take Victories at Inaugural Challenge Laguna Phuket

Rasmus Petræus (DEN) showed his strength over the middle distance taking his second Challenge Family title at Challenge Laguna Phuket today in 4:05:06 while world champion, Melissa Hauschildt (AUS) took out the women’s title in 4:30:29 in perfect tropical race conditions.

Petræus led out of the swim in 25:22 with Alberto Casadei (ITA) and Alberto Alessandroni (ITA) just seconds behind him and so began a three-way duel that was to last well into the run. The lead chopped and changed throughout the 90k bike. Petræus held his lead during the first half but by the technical hilly section, Casadei led up the steep hills but there were still only seconds in it. They had however put five minutes into the chase pack, led by last weekend’s Laguna Phuket Triathlon winner, Ruedi Wild (SUI).

Petræus and Casadei left T2 together out onto the hot, two-lap run with Alessandroni losing 10 seconds in transition. Casadei and Petræus continued to run neck and neck until the 7km mark when Petræus started to show he was the stronger man on the day and by the time he took the title, he had increased his lead to 2:07.

The young Dane was speechless following his win, overwhelmed by his victory. “It’s unbelievable – I came here thinking it was the off season, but I can’t believe it! There was such a good audience and good environment to race in – I have no words, just amazing!”

The women’s race saw last year’s Laguna Phuket Triathlon Champion in women’s field, Radka Vodickova (CZE) exit the water with a clear 2:32 lead over two-time world champion who’s also defending her title from last year half distance race at Laguna Phuket, Hauschildt and triathlon sweetheart, Belinda Granger (AUS) two seconds further down. But by 30km, Hauschildt had closed Vodickova’s lead to 25 seconds and by 45km she took the lead, never to relinquish it building it to a 5:47 win over Vodickova. The battle for third place began in the second half the bike when Dr Tamsin Lewis started closing on Granger, eventually overtaking her by the 70k mark. Granger refused to give up on what turned out to be a tough run for her but Lewis won the fight for third, taking it out in 4:44:49.

Today’s victory was Hauschildt’s second in a week, following last weekend’s triumph at the Laguna Phuket Triathlon. She was struck down by a stomach bug early in the week but didn’t let it deter her. “That was tough,” she said at the finish line. “I hadn’t eaten anything but dry crackers since Tuesday. I didn’t know if I was going to make it to the start line. On the hills I didn’t feel like I had it in the legs but then it got OK. By the run, it felt like I was running on fumes. But it’s awesome to win, this is my favourite race of the year – I really wanted to do this and I really wanted to win both of them. I’m so happy!”

A field of over 600 individual pro and age group athletes representing 51 nationalities jumped into the waters of Bangtao Bay at 6.30am to tackle the 1.9km swim, followed by a 90km bike ride and a 21km run. There were also 28 relay teams taking part amid the event’s renowned carnival atmosphere totaling over 700 entries in the race’s debut.