The 34th Powerman Zofingen brought some changes with it. On the one hand in terms of the range of races, but also in terms of the route. OC President Stefan Ruf generally draws a very positive conclusion. The 10 km run, 150 km bike and another 30 km run in and around Zofingen mean the toughest but also most beautiful duathlon in the world. To hold this event at the same location for the 15th time, after 1997, 1998, 1999, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2021 and 2022, and for the 12th time in a row, is unique for the sport of triathlon and duathlon.
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 shift of the competition zone and the new course concept have proved their worth. The Saturday programme with the “Experience Day” was particularly well received by the young athletes. On both days of the competition, the number of participants increased significantly compared to the previous year. The World Cup race was extremely exciting and the good weather also made a positive contribution.
What effect did the various innovations have on this year’s Powerman Zofingen?
All positive. The adapted running routes have led to significantly more spectators and two clear spectator centres have formed with General-Guisan-Strasse and Heiteren-Platz. The new sprint races on Saturday worked and the courses proved their worth there as well.
We also heard voices here and there saying that there were too many innovations at the Powerman and that they were too frequent. What do you think about that?
I can understand that from the athletes’ point of view, and that’s why it was important to choose a solution for the running courses that eliminates as many disadvantages as possible. We have invested a lot of time and calculated dozens of variants. Now we are close to the optimum and I hope that we can work with it for the next few years.
Around 800 participants were counted. Are you satisfied with that?
The number of participants has increased in all categories, which is very positive and I expect this trend to continue into 2024. But we can’t be satisfied and next year we want to exceed the 1,000 mark again.
The temperatures were very high, not really Powerman Zofingen-like. Did this nice weather bring more participants or even less?
A good weather forecast leads to more late registrations. Another advantage is the memory of the participants: they are more likely to register again for the next year, especially because the whole atmosphere in the sun is so pleasant.
The winning time in the men’s long-distance race was under 6 hours for the first time. That’s actually amazing for 10 km of running, 150 km of cycling and 30 km of running, isn’t it?
That surprised me, too, because the course was even a bit longer than in previous years. It showed what a difference 250 fewer metres of altitude can make. In addition, the men’s team set a horrendous pace right from the start on the bike course. In previous years, the first 100 km were ridden rather tactically. But the fact that the winning time was finally under 6 hours was ultimately the result of the incredible running time of the Danish winner Simon Joern Hansen, who completed the second run with 1h 35 min. a full ten minutes faster than the competition.
In the eight-hour livestream there were also words of praise for the Powerman Zofingen from great duathlon and triathlon legends like Mark Allen (USA) or Erin Baker (NZL). Are you honoured by that?
It is both an honour and a motivation for the Powerman Zofingen event. It also shows how the memory of the race in Zofingen sticks forever, even with greats like Mark Allen and Erin Baker. Surely they were also impressed by this year’s TV and livestream production, which has once again reached a higher level.
In the past, the Powerman Zofingen winners’ lists were mainly dominated by Belgians. Now Germany and France seem to be the top nations. How did that come about?
France has always been a top nation and has been on the podium almost every year. Germany has an extremely strong long-distance triathlon scene. That’s why it’s worth specialising in duathlon for the strong cyclists and runners. On the other hand, I am a little worried about the development of the Swiss team. Apart from Melanie Maurer, who once again showed a great performance, no one was close to the podium. But I know that there are some promising young athletes who will need a few more years to reach the top.
What was your highlight at the Powerman 2023?
There were many. In the end, the most important thing was that everything worked together and that the adjustments with the new finish area proved successful.
What did you find rather disappointing?
That not more people took part in the charity run, since it is for a good cause and suitable for everyone.
The 35th Powerman Zofingen on 7/8 September 2024 will again be held as the World Triathlon Powerman Long Distance Duathlon World Championships. Does this help with planning security?
Definitely and in all respects: It’s very good for athletes, sponsors and the organisation team. The application process for the 2024 event has already begun. The first participants have already registered and some sponsor contracts have already been extended.
Will there be any innovations again?
No changes are planned for the routes. However, we have been working on the renewal of the visual appearance for some time. The Powerman Switzerland 2024 will appear in a new look, i.e. corporate identity and graphics will be modernised.
Can you already register for the 35th Powerman Zofingen?
Yes, the online registration is already live for all categories. It’s worth registering now, because the entry fees are currently the cheapest.
Where do you need additional supportive forces in the LOC?
We will be holding a number of information events for interested parties over the next six weeks. Since we are a voluntary team, the longer I stay, the more I am in favour of a system with rather smaller, but clear areas of responsibility and consequently a little more staff. This is the only way to increase quality. And we still have considerable potential in all areas. If you are interested, please contact me today at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Interview: Raphael Galliker
Foto: Manuel Geisser
Registration for the 35th Powerman Zofingen and more information at: