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POWERMAN NEWS

Six months before the 35th Powerman Zofingen, Organising Committee President Stefan Ruf stated: «The organisational quality will be greatly improved»

The 35th Powerman Zofingen is scheduled for 7/8 September 2024. The 10 km run, 150 km bike ride and another 30 km run in and around Zofingen represent the toughest but also most beautiful duathlon in the world. After 1997, 1998, 1999, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2021, 2022 and 2023, it is unique for the sport of triathlon and duathlon to be held at the same location for the 16th time as the World Championships, not least for the 13th time in a row.


What are the biggest challenges ahead of the 35th Powerman Zofingen on 7/8 September 2024? Stefan Ruf, OC President of Powerman Zofingen:

We are in the middle of a major reorganisation. We have welcomed many new members to the organising team, who are showing a lot of new ideas and great energy. The team needs to form and coordinate well with each other. The progress made in recent weeks gives me great confidence and will lead to a noticeable improvement in the quality of the organisation.

There were various changes last year, such as the location of the transition zone or General-Guisan-Strasse as the centre of the event. Have these and other changes proved successful and are there any new things?

It was a very good decision to adapt the competition centre and the running routes a little, everything has worked very well. The next step will now be to expand the supporting programme and make the area more attractive for spectators. On the participant side, we are aiming for more participants in the long distance and are focussing heavily on the school races on Saturday with the additional class competitions and other attractions for young people.


The pandemic was certainly not favourable for an event like the Powerman Zofingen. Have the international waves calmed down a little?

The expectation in the sports scene is that 2024 will see a return to the situation before the pandemic. International travel activity is back to the level of 2019, and triathlon and duathlon are on the upswing. When planning, however, we take into account that events can occur at any time that turn everything upside down.


What do you expect from the 2024 World Triathlon Powerman Long Distance Duathlon World Championships and from the 35th Powerman Zofingen in general?

The 35th Powerman Zofingen will be a first-class sports festival. Everyone will recognise numerous innovations and small details at first glance. This can already be seen in our appearance with a new, fresh design and additional communication products, and we have received a lot of positive feedback. The overarching goal is to consolidate the status of Powerman Zofingen as the world's leading duathlon event and thus lay the foundations for the international expansion planned from 2025. Zofingen is and will remain the showcase in the scene and has the unique charm of an international event. Where else in our region can you find an event with participants from 35 countries?


Do you expect the winning times at the World Championships to be pulverised again this year?

That depends very much on the weather conditions. In 2023, they were optimal and the second run couldn't be run exactly as planned, which meant the course was around 600 metres shorter. The tactics of the favourites also play a role: do they take command early on and provoke an elimination race or do they wait and seek the decision in the final hour of the race? This, in turn, also depends heavily on the form of the day.


The Powerman Zofingen consists not only of the World Championship race, but also of a short distance and sprint race, the PowerKids, the charity and pleasure tours. Aren't you getting a bit bogged down?

That is indeed a challenge, because the balancing act is very great. The comparison with similar events such as Ironman or the Challenge Triathlon events only offer their main race and obviously with great success. All activities are aimed at the same target group and there is no internal competition between the individual programmes. We try to minimise this by clearly assigning tasks and giving them a great deal of autonomy. For example, one department promotes international athletes and another promotes pupils.


In 2018, Freddy Nock successfully attempted a world record on the wheel of death at the Powerman Zofingen. Now the exceptional artist from Uerkheim has passed away. Does it take your breath away?

We have fond memories of this world record. Unfortunately, it is part of life that companions leave us far too soon. I'm also thinking of world-class athletes like Benny Vansteelant and Julia Viellehner. Like Freddy Nock and others, we remember them fondly. They are part of our history.


Events and clubs with supra-regional, national and international appeal in and around Zofingen, and generally throughout the Mittelland, are increasingly struggling to survive. This is mainly due to the lack of support from large organisations. Does the Powerman still have a future in Zofingen?

Yes, even a very big one. But only if you make a crystal-clear analysis and act accordingly. A large corporation invests where it can reach the largest target audience with its message. Today, almost every large corporation operates globally. An event must therefore be able to reach the target audience worldwide via social media and moving images. To do this, the event needs an absolute USP in the international environment and this is exactly what the Powerman Zofingen can offer as the World Duathlon Championships. This means that it doesn't matter where the event takes place. Even today, 47,000 of our 50,000 Facebook followers come from abroad. But of course we need 200,000 followers and 1,000 international participants to be really interesting.


Where does the Powerman Zofingen need additional support from the organising committee?

We have created a new "Safety & Sustainability" position. The importance of these topics and the requirements of the sponsors have increased massively. We want to take this into account and set up a team to take on these tasks. In addition, there are always interesting smaller tasks in all areas. Thanks to the introduction of various new applications, we can offer all OC members modern working tools and efficient processes. If our motto "passion & precision" appeals to you, please contact us via info@powerman.ch. We look forward to hearing from you!



Interview: Raphael Galliker Registration for the 35th Powerman Zofingen and more information at: www.powerman.swiss


Caption:

OC President Stefan Ruf is looking forward to the Powerman Zofingen weekend on 7/8 September 2024, as preparations are going according to plan.

Photo: Manuel Geisser

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