Triathlon history in Fredericia started in 1991, when Fredericia Triathlon Team was founded. After having organised the Danish Championship for the Ironman distance in 1995, we were left with a deficit of 8.000 kr. and a lack of desire to arrange further races.
The former Development Manager of the municipality of Fredericia wished to change the world’s perception of Fredericia as a city of smoking chimneys to a green city with lots of woods and a blue-flag beach in the middle of the city. He saw a great opportunity to show this side of town through triathlon events. An inspired Ole Nikolajsen who had participated in the Ironman Roth in 1993, visited the head of development and offered his insights. We should forget about the wider community appeal and instead arrange an Ironman event with 250,000 kr. in prize money.
Ole anticipated a quick exit from the development manager’s office, but the development manager looked at Ole and said, “Yes, that’s what we will do.”
It was primarily an uphill struggle, janteloven lived in clover and the attitude was that Fredericia was not skilled or experienced enough. Nonetheless, Fredericia wanted to be the largest and best race. This attitude resulted in a beating from the Danish community.
Fredericia succeeded in attracting 230 triathletes for the start in 1995 by making the most of their connections and among the 230 athletes they could present names such as: Peter Kropko, Hungary, Jean Mouro, Belgium, Igor Franski, Germany, Richard Hopson, England, and the star Donna Peters from the United States. Among Danish athletes who participated were Bent Andersen, Morten Fenger, and Peter Sandvang.
The event was a great success and was named the best Danish event in 1995. In the triathlon world everybody talked about the amazing event in Fredericia, but with a deficit of 8,000 kr., the management agreed that it was the first and last big event in Fredericia.
As fate would have it, Rødekro was stripped by ETU from the opportunity to arrange the European Championship in 1997 through a miscarriage of justice. Fredericia was instead offered to host the event as DTrif fought to keep the European Championship on Danish soil. The management accepted the challenge and in ten months’ time, succeeded in arranging the first international championship in Fredericia.
The European Championship proved to be a huge success with 450 triathletes from around the world and a massive turnout from the press, which was widely unrepresented in 1995. The success the race enjoyed only increased Fredericia’s interest in triathlon events, and it was subsequently agreed in the management that now was the time to get the World Championship to the city.
At the ITU congress in 1999, the team from Fredericia received an audience to apply for the hosting of the World Championship in 2001, where they ultimately were approved by ITU to host the championship in Denmark.
This was the beginning of 12 years of major international events in the centre of Fredericia. However, by 2007 it was all over. After having been overlooked several times as a qualification event for Hawaii and after having suffered a decline in the number of participants since ITU introduced the Nice distance, the management group decided after 12 years to stop while the going was good.
Since 2011, Fredericia stands out as the host of stages in the Danish Championship for short-distance triathlon. By 2016, the municipality of Fredericia is back as part of Challenge Denmark, ready to host events of international standard.
Challenge Denmark is part of the world’s biggest international triathlon series, Challenge Family. When the first Challenge Denmark race took place June 13th 2015 in Billund and Herning, it wasn’t the first time a Challenge Family race was held in Denmark. From 2010-2012 Challenge Copenhagen took place in the Danish capital, but from 2013 this race was no longer part of Challenge Family. So when the team behind Challenge Denmark contacted Challenge Family to apply for the rights to arrange Challenge races in Denmark, it was based on a big wish to bring the world’s biggest triathlon series back on Danish ground.
The idea behind Challenge Denmark is to embrace the family behind the triathletes along with offering the athletes a professional and high-class race – no matter at which level they are competing. Challenge Denmark is for everyone, from elite athletes living off the sport to Age Group athletes racing their first triathlon ever.