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POWERMAN NEWS

34th Powerman Zofingen, OK President Stefan Ruf: "We can draw a very positive conclusion."

The 34th Powerman Zofingen brought about some changes, both in terms of the race offerings and the course layout. OK President Stefan Ruf, in general, draws a very positive conclusion. The 10 km run, 150 km bike ride, and another 30 km run in and around Zofingen represent the toughest but also the most beautiful duathlon in the world. Awarding the World Championship to the same location for the 15th time, notably for the 12th consecutive time since 1997, 1998, 1999, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2021, and 2022, is unique for the triathlon and duathlon sport.

How satisfied are you with the 34th Powerman Zofingen and the 2023 World Triathlon Powerman Long Distance Duathlon World Championships?

Stefan Ruf: We can draw a very positive conclusion. The relocation of the competition zone and the new course concept have proven successful. The Saturday program with the "Experience Day" was particularly well-received, especially among the younger participants. On both competition days, the number of participants has significantly increased compared to the previous year. The World Championship race was extremely exciting, and the good weather also made a positive contribution to the overall experience.

How have the various innovations at this year's Powerman Zofingen affected the event?

All positively. The adjusted running routes have led to significantly more spectators, and two clear spectator centers have formed with General-Guisan-Strasse and Heiteren-Platz. The new sprint races on Saturday worked well, and the courses proved themselves there too.


Some voices here and there have mentioned that there are often too many changes at Powerman. What are your thoughts on this?

I can understand that from the athletes' perspective, and that's precisely why it was important to choose a solution on the running routes that addresses as many previous drawbacks as possible. We invested a tremendous amount of time in this and calculated dozens of variations. Now we are close to the optimum, and I hope we can work with it in the coming years.


Around 800 participants were counted. Are you satisfied with that?

The participation numbers have increased in all categories, which is very positive. I expect this trend to continue into 2024. However, we shouldn't be satisfied with this, and next year, we aim to surpass the 1,000 mark once again.


The temperatures were very high, not typical for Powerman Zofingen. Did this beautiful weather attract more participants or possibly fewer?

A good weather forecast leads to more on-site registrations. Another advantage is the positive experience for participants, making them more likely to sign up again for the next year, especially because the overall atmosphere is simply better in sunny weather.


The winning time in the World Championship Long Distance race for men was for the first time under 6 hours. It's quite remarkable considering the combination of 10 km running, 150 km cycling, and another 30 km running, isn't it?

That surprised me too, especially considering the course was slightly longer than in previous years. It demonstrated the impact of 250 fewer meters of elevation. Additionally, the men set an incredible pace right from the start on the cycling course. In previous years, the first 100 km were more strategically ridden. The fact that the winning time ended up being under 6 hours was ultimately a result of the incredible running performance by the Danish winner, Simon Joern Hansen, who completed the second run in 1 hour and 35 minutes, a full ten minutes faster than the competition.


In the eight-hour livestream, there were also words of praise for Powerman Zofingen from big duathlon and triathlon legends like Mark Allen (USA) or Erin Baker (NZL). Does that honor you?

That's both an honor and motivation for the Powerman Zofingen event. It also shows how the memory of the race in Zofingen lingers forever, even with giants like Mark Allen and Erin Baker. Surely, they were also impressed by this year's TV and livestream production, which has reached an even higher level.


Earlier, the Powerman Zofingen winner lists were mainly dominated by Belgians. Now, Germany and France seem to be the top nations. How did this happen?

France has always been a top nation and has been on the podium almost every year. Germany boasts an extremely strong long-distance triathlon scene, making specialization in duathlon worthwhile for strong cyclists and runners. However, I am somewhat concerned about the development in the Swiss team. Apart from Melanie Maurer, who once again delivered a fantastic performance, no one was close to the podium. I do know that there are some promising young athletes, but they will need a few more years to reach the top.


What was your highlight at Powerman 2023?

There were numerous highlights. The most important one, in the end, was that everything came together and the adjustments with the new finish area proved successful.


What disappointed you more?

The fact that fewer people participated in the charity run was disappointing, considering it's for a good cause and open to everyone.


The 35th Powerman Zofingen on September 7-8, 2024, will once again host the World Triathlon Powerman Long Distance Duathlon World Championships. Does this help with planning certainty?

Certainly, and in every aspect: It's very beneficial for athletes, sponsors, and the organizing team. The promotion of the 2024 event has already started, with the first participants registered and some sponsor contracts already extended.


Will there be innovations again?

There are no planned changes to the courses. However, we have been working on renewing the visual appearance for some time. Powerman Switzerland 2024 will be presented in a new look, meaning corporate identity and graphics will be modernized.


Is registration already open for the 35th Powerman Zofingen?

Yes, online registration is already live for all categories. Registering now is worthwhile because currently, the registration fees are at their most affordable.


Where do you particularly need additional support in the organizing committee now?

We will be conducting several informational events for interested individuals in the next six weeks. As we are a volunteer team, I increasingly support a system with smaller but clear areas of responsibility, and consequently, a bit more personnel. This is the only way to enhance the quality. And we still have considerable potential in all areas. Those interested are best off reaching out to me today via info@powerman.ch.


Interview: Raphael Galliker

Photo: Manuel Geisser

Registrations for the 35th Powerman Zofingen and more information at: www.powerman.swiss

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