Interview with Ronnie Schildknecht

19. July 2016

Ronnie Schildknecht is the first triathlete to win the Ironman seven times in a row. Not only this feat belongs to the Zurich athlete’s list of sporting accomplishments but also his fourth place in the Ironman Hawaii and sub-8 best time in the Ironman distance. You started your triathlon career in 2000.

How has the sport and the requirements profile of athletes (long distance) changed over the course of time?

Due to former short distance specialists switching to the long distance, the swimming has become somewhat faster. There are now increasingly larger cycling groups, which makes swimming all the more important, especially in Hawaii.

You don’t just compete in triathlons, but also regularly take part in duathlons. This year you won the Swiss Champion title for the umpteenth time. Is this “side leap” done for training purposes?

I originally trained as a duathlete before switching to triathlons. A duathlon is incredibly tough due to the fast running prior to cycling and is therefore an ideal rigorous training. It gives me the necessary toughness for a competition.

Many hobby athletes have the big goal of competing in an Ironman once in their lives. What are your three most important tips to make this a successful project?

I think a little patience is needed. I see more and more hobby athletes choosing an Ironman as their first triathlon. I would recommend competing in an Olympic triathlon to start with and then a 70.3 later on. In this way, the body can also get used to the strain. As I see it, taking part in an Ironman should be a 2-year project for triathlon novices

Up to now, you have displayed unbelievable consistency at the Ironman Zurich, thus making sports history. What does it take to be just as successful at the Ironman Hawaii? What makes this race so challenging and difficult?

Hawaii is a completely different race from Zurich. The factors that make it so difficult are the heat, humidity, and competition. You need a perfect day. Just one small mistake in your diet or pacing is enough to ruin your chances of finishing with a good ranking.

Foto: ZVG