Isuzu Ironman 70.3 World Championships

Isuzu Ironman 70.3 World Championships

Nelson Mandela Bay, Port Elizabeth

The 1-2 September 2018 weekend marked the Isuzu Ironman 70.3 world champs, an ultra fantastic weekend of racing at Nelson Mandela Bay on the 1st and 2nd of September, 2018. Thousands of women lined the shores in Port Elizabeth on Saturday, in beautifully warm and sunny weather. The men’s race on Sunday did not enjoy such fine weather, but the rain brought out best in the athletes and the electric atmosphere of the ‘Ironfans’.

The Pro race on Saturday was a star-studded event, with the likes of Anne Haug (DEU), Sarah True (USA), Lucy Charles (GBR) and Daniela Ryf (CHE)- not to mention South African athletes Jeanni Seymour, Anna Watkinson and Magda Niewoudt! After her blisteringly fast 1,9km swim in a time of 23:01, Charles held a 01:30 lead over True, Ryf, Seymour and Haug. On the 90km bike it was Ryf who took the lead with Charles in tow. Ryf cycled a 2:15:28, the fastest on the day. The standings after the cycle were Ryf, Charles, Haug. Onto the half marathon 21.1km run Ryf secured her lead with a split of 1:17:00. Charles couldn’t match the speed of Ryf, yet managed to ward off the fastest runner of the day, Haug. Charles run time was 1:20:37, and Haug’s impressive 1:15:00 guaranteed her a spot on the podium. Ryf won in an overall time of 4:01:13, Charles claimed the Silver medal in a time of 4:04:59 and Haug finished 3rd in a time of 4:07:22. Of the South African Pro ladies, Seymour finished 7th in a time of 4:14:57. Watkinson finished 21st Pro and 23rd overall in a time of 4:34:52. Niewoudt finished with a time of 4:36:46, earning her a 22nd place in the professional division and was the 25th overall lady.

South Africa claimed the overall ladies age-group win, with Jade Roberts finishing 1st in the 25-29 category, 1st in the overall age-group category and her time lining her up for a 20th place overall among the Professional women. Roberts completed her swim in a time of 27:10, cycled a 2:32:16 and ran 1:27:18 for her half-marathon. Roberts now qualifies as a pro and can globetrot races in the upcoming season to qualify for her slot to compete at the next Ironman 70.3 world champs in the Pro category.

Other age-group achievements by South African ladies include Genelle van der Riet finishing 4th in the 50-54 category in a time of 5:19:26.

Sunday was a rainy endeavour in the men’s race. The epic showdown of three former ITU triathletes was the primary concern for all athletes and spectators. Germany’s Jan Frodeno, Spain’s Javier Gomez Noya and Britain’s Alistair Brownlee were without a doubt the pre-race favourites. The standings after the swim saw the three exit the water within seconds of each other (the fastest swim by Frodeno with a time of 21:54), leaving the remaining two disciplines the deciding factors for who would be crowned the 2018 world champion. On the bike only seconds split the trio coming into their second transition. Frodeno led out onto the run with a cycle time of 2:04:29 followed by Brownlee with a split of 2:04:30 and Gomez in a cycle time of 2:04:37. Frodeno put the marginal lead he held over his chasers to good use, furthering his lead to over a minute on Brownlee into the finish chute. Frodeno finished 1st in a time of 3:36:31. Brownlee finished his first Ironman 70.3 World Champs in 2nd place with a time of 3:37:42. Gomez rounded up the podium in a time of 3:38:27. South African Pro James Cunnama finished 19th in a time of 3:56:46.

In the age-group race, the overall win went to Stellenbosch student from Namibia, Jean-Paul Burger. Burger finished in a time of 3:58:41, putting him in 21st position of all the male athletes on the day (including pros). Burger swam 24:17, cycled 2:40:30 and ran 1:14:39. “My swim went well, luckily I started in the first wave for my age category. However, having started in the later waves overall, there was quite a bit of traffic on the cycle so I feel my bike time could have been faster. My run was the one discipline where I felt I could compare myself to the pro’s, I ran my fastest run off the bike. Next year I would like to race 70.3 professionally alon side the ITU race calendar.”

SA’s Rohan Meyer finished 1st in his 25-29 age category in a time of 4:03:13, this put him 28th overall.

Many of the athletes who raced 70.3 World Champs will be making their way to Kona for the Ironman World Championships in Kona Hawaii on the 13 October 2018. Wishing all the Ironman athletes the best of luck for Kona.