Roth or Frankfurt?

Looking at one of these next year.....any views on these re race courses, venues, accomodation, logistics etc etc


  • M..o.useM..o.use ✭✭✭

    Not sure which pirates have done both to give you a fair assessment.  I've done IMDE which was absolutely amazing!  You are treated like kings and queens and nothing is forgotten.

    Where do you live? Not all the regional airports fly there (and Frankfurt Hahn is MILES away).  Once you arrive at Frankfurt Airport there's a train to take you into town that's easy enough if you don't want to pay for a cab (cabs are naturally quite expensive).

    The pirates have stayed at both the youth hostel and an Ibis locally en masse.  The Ibis we stayed at was the Ibis Frankfurt Centrum and you get what you paid for really.  Clean, very small rooms but also not very expensive either, so if you can put up with the travelodge ethos, it's fine.  This hotel is right on the turn point of the run route so it's not very far away from transition and it was an easy enough walk home afterwards.  There are closer though.

    The race - the swim is in a lake that you are bussed out to (it's all very well organised though by the race though and is free of charge for the buses) but beware that IMDE has has a few non-wetsuit swims now as it gets quite warm there.

    The bike leg is a double looper with three 'named' hills but none are going to kill you and the atmosphere on Heartbreak Hill is amazing.

    The run leg takes you on four loops along the river so you get to see your fellow athletes loads, the support here is amazing.  It's completely flat apart from the bridges which start to look like mountains in the end!

    There is a cobbled section on the bike and cobbles on the run.

    The last thing of note - IMDE has a shorter cut off, not the standard 17 hours and it's either 16 or 15 hours.  If you think that you are a back marker, think carefully about whether you need that time at the end or not.


  • Thanks a lot....

    Anyone done both?

  • Ive done them both,  id struggle to pick between them, though if pressed id probably choose IMDE, though theyre both up there among the best Ironman distance races. 

    The reason id pick IMDE is that its easier to get to (direct flights to Frankfurt), its big city so youve everything on your doorstep rather than having to stay further out or in a smaller town e.g.  Swabach/Roth.  IMDE is also a branded Ironman and while Roth is effectively the old IMDE (before it was moved to Frankfurt) IMDE carries that little extra draw due to its IM status. 

    The other things that edged IMDE over Roth is that Roth is a wave start, not 2000 all at once, I also prefer a lap run course, IMDE is 4 laps, Roth is one long T shape run out and along the canal and back. 

    What they both have in common is,  massive massive support on the course, split transition, fast courses, and a massive atmosphere during and at the finish.

    Mouse has made some valid points above re IMDE 15 hour cut-off and 2 non wetsuit swims in the last 5 years.

  • IMDE Heartbreak Hill
  • One other thing to consider, both will likely sell out on the day entries open, in the case of IMDE it sells out in a few hours.

  • I've done both and I think I would choose IMDE for most of the reasons that Barlos has said

  • Depends on if it's just you, Foggo - because IMDE is a branded IM event, there is only the one distance. Roth is a Challenge race and has junior races and a relay for friends/family members who might want to take part but not do the whole IM on their own. Not much else to divide them - both have split transitions, both are usually in baking hot weather, both have massive support out on the course, both have a firework display at the end. Personally I prefer Roth because of the wave swim start and the canal is so cold that the chances of a non-wetsuit swim are very low.

  • I've not done both but my view on Roth is that if you're a slow-ish swimmer and older rather than younger you may well be in the final wave which means you are likely to be lapped from the start of your bike and by the time you reach the run there's little support out there and the aid stations are fairly empty toward the end of the run, 1/2 litre of coke between everyone at the penultimate station a couple of years ago! Finally, with it being a wave start no one has any idea who is finishing where, apart from Chrissie W etc! Apparently supporting is a bit more difficult than some races too from what I've heard.

    It's the only IM distance race I would never go back to.

  • On the other hand if you're female you'll be in the second wave right behind the pro starters.

    I would never ever go back to Sachsenman in Moritzburg near Dresden, in former East Germany. The worst race course of any kind anywhere - the lake is so shallow you have to wade out a long way before you can swim and again when you exit. Bike course is 4 laps round past the finish each time and part of it is on cobblestone roads, The run is again 4 laps, passing the finish every time and heading out into the woods - nasty when it gets dark. And there's one bit on each lap where you have to run down a road for about 400m, round a flag and back again, totally miserable.

  • Sex change or IMDE for me then image

  • I'm not crazy enough to be taking aprt in Roth but I am planning on going and watching. Does anybody have any tips about camping there? I.e how easy is it to get a place if I arrive on Sat afternoon? On the Challenge-Roth website they mention a temporary camp site near the swim start

  • fat buddhafat buddha ✭✭✭

    there is a temporary campsite near the swim start - no facilities of any kind (may be bogs though?).  the downside is that once the race starts, you're in lockdown there until all the bikes have gone through - they go past twice - and then you have to get into Roth to see the finish and of course get back when it's dark.   best use a bike with lights for that bit.

    there is also a large campsite in easy reach at Wallesau which is about 5/6 miles from the swim start -   you'll need to book that though.   again, access there and back has the same restrictions on race day with closed roads.

  • Is Roth a bit of a pain for spectators/family? Would Frankfurt be easier?

  • fat buddhafat buddha ✭✭✭

    both of them have spectator issues as they are split transitions so your supporters need to a) get to the swim start and then b) get somewhere else.  

    at Roth, when they are at the swim, they are effectively trapped as no cars are allowed out for some time due to closed roads for the bike. most then drive to Solarberg Hill to support on the bike and then into Roth. you can walk into Roth from the swim but it's quite a way so tough if you have kids in tow,  and the run doesn't really go through the town but you can walk out a bit to the canal to cheer on, and then back to the finish area

    at IMDE there are shuttle buses to and from the swim and also a bus out to Heartbreak Hill on the bike, and the bike course comes back through the city for lap 2.   and as the run is 4 laps around the Rhine you can easily get to see the runners and then a short walk into the centre for the finish.

    on balance IMDE is more spectator friendly imho.  Roth is a race for competitors really

  • Entered IMDE for 2013 today

  • Foggo, supportig at Roth was, in a word, horrible! The only way I would ever do it again would be to take a bike with me and ride around, I hated it and if it hadn't been for the text alerts I had signed up for, I would have imploded with the stress level! It's been the only race (IM or Half) that Funkin has done that I didn't like. He loved it though image and I suspect he will want to go back again one day...

    However, the campsite at Wallesau was great and I was glad to get back to our little pirate area that night after the race! Booked it a long time in advance though, as it fills very quickly with everyone racing.

  • I'm quite keen to do IMDE again. Probably full by now though !?

  • I'd love to do IMDE again, amazing race. Maybe in 2015.

  • It'd be good again for the Pirate Flotilla to do. 

  • Cougie you've done it a billion times already! Is the Starbucks there REALLY such a draw? image

  • Jj wrote (see)

    Cougie you've done it a billion times already! Is the Starbucks there REALLY such a draw? image

    Clearly the chance to race me is the draw???  Love starbucks too

  • Would love to but have been told not to run any more marathons with my new hip joint. So Roth is my choice, I can do the swim or bike for a relay team.


  • I have done Frankfurt twice and loved it both times even if they were both non-wetsuit swims...

    It is fantastically well organised... from the inspections rides of the cycle course with police out riders to the showers in the Atheletes' Garden after the race.

    I would love to go back there... but not for a couple of years... Think I will try to do Zurich again next year... but why not Frankfurt in 2014 or 15 image

  • Mrs GOM really liked Frankfurt (make your own jokes), and I really enjoyed the race. Yes the split transistion is a bit of a pain. But then again you can never please all the people all of the time!

  • but why not Frankfurt in 2014 or 15 image

    I'll buy that image

  • Stop it!!!

  • Looks like Frankfurt fo rme next year then

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