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Raelert: "Pretty Happy with my Ironman Debut Race"

Two-time world champion wins the silver medal at Ironman Regensburg - Swim course record -50 dollar donation for each kilometer raced

Michael RaelertRegensburg, Germany - Michael Raelert has finished his debut race on the Ironman distance successfully. At Ironman Regensburg the 31-year old from Rostock in 8:18:53 hours won the silver medal behind Dirk Bockel from Luxembourg. "I am very satisfied with my race", Michael Raelert said, "because this race was a test for me." After two victories on the Ironman 70.3 distance earlier this season Michael Raelert dominated the especially in the water and in the bike leg. The younger one of the Raelert-Brothers led the race on the bike leg until kilometer 160.

"It was the experience of my life", he said at the finish line, "against Dirk today there was simply no escape."

After 45:01 minutes Michael Raelert reached the swim exit at Lake Guggenberg - in a new course record time. He improved the best time of world class swimmer Christof Wandratsch who swam 45:16 minutes in 2010. "On the bike I started powerful", Michael Raelert said after the race. On the first 160 kilometers he pushed the pace and was always in the lead - about two minutes ahead of Dirk Bockel who claimed fourth place at the Ironman World Championships in Kona last year. "When Dirk overtook me then at kilometer 160 I could not do anything against it", Michael Raelert said honestly. After a bike split of 4:35:32 hours Michael Raelert started into his marathon four minutes behind Dirk Bockel. He was gaining time on him again, but in the end Dirk Bockel built up his victory in a course record time of 8:11:59 hours. With a marathon of 2:54:40 hours Michael Raelert reached the finish line smilingly in second place. Mike Schifferle from Switzerland claimed third place in 8:36:53 hours.

"Today I did something for me, but I also did a little bit for the project Mike Möwenherz", Michael Raelert said at the finish line. He had dedicated his debut over the Ironman distance to children with terminal diseases in the region of Rostock. "For me it was most important that children are winners of my debut race." In cooperation with the internationally active NGO Help-for-Hope the Raelert-Brothers want to help disadvantaged children. They want to give children in need a smile. "Everywhere we race we're welcomed with open arms, and we feel so lucky to be living our dream", Andreas Raelert says, "now we want to give something back."

The race in Regensburg and the debut of Michael Raelert on the Ironman distance marked the beginning of a new partnership with Help-for-Hope, a Swiss-based nonprofit organization that runs projects worldwide to help children in need. "We are delighted that we could win Andreas and Michael Raelert as ambassadors for children in need", says Stephan Bissig, founder of Help-for-Hope. "The Raelert-Brothers are not only outstanding world class athletes but also highly inspiring personalities, authentic and humble. And they have a big heart for children."

For each race kilometer of Michael Raelert in Regensburg, the Raelert-Brothers donate 50 dollars to the Project "Mike Möwenherz" in their home region. "When I crossed the finish line after 226 kilometers it not only had a special meaning for me. I wanted to share this moment with children in need", Michael Raelert said. "Give a child a smile" was the motto of his first Ironman race - and it ended with a great success.

The Raelert-Brothers want to inspire even more people with their charity project in Regensburg. Triathlon fans, viewers and every sports-loving person can participate in the project "Mike Möwenherz". In cooperation with their partner Oakley, Andreas and Michael Raelert designed 100 limited edition T-shirts with the logo "Win with Andy and Micha - and give a child a smile". Each of these 100 pieces will be signed by the Raelert-Brothers, and sell at 25 Euros each. 100 percent of revenues from the sale will go directly to the project "Mike Möwenherz".

Help-for-Hope - Give Children in Need New Opportunities through Sports
Help-for-Hope is a rapidly growing, globally active children's relief movement, which wants to provide children in need fair chances for a better future. Sports, tangible results and 100% of donations given to projects are its key elements. Founded in Switzerland in 2006 as a publicly recognized NGO, Help-for-Hope currently operates children's relief projects in South America, Africa, Asia and Europe, mainly in the fields of education and health. Help-for-Hope exclusively selects projects with measurable results. In addition, 100% of donations go directly to the projects, all non-project costs are covered by the founding committee and its partners.

Since its inception Help-for-Hope has focused on sports and sports competitions as a means to raise awareness and funds. Help-for-Hope is for everyone: with its motto "Racing for children in need" it brings together everyone who wishes to lace running shoes and give a child a smile, from world class athletes like the Raelert-Brothers to athletes who step unto the starting line for the first time in their lives. Interested in joining the fun? Please visit www.help-for-hope.org.

Photo Credit: Sebastian Kuhn