Triathletes tear up the promenade at Tinman Duathlon

Due to unfortunate rough sea conditions, the Tinman triathlon on 12 August 2018 was changed to a duathlon. A fiery lineup of triathletes took to the two-lap 10km run, six-lap 32km cycle and single lap 5km run along Durban’s Golden Mile on Sunday at the third Tinman event of the year. In the sprint race, the duathlon took the format of a one-lap 5km run, three-lap 20km cycle and shorter one-lap 2,5km run.

A strong running pack formed in the early stages of the men’s challenge duathlon. Ben De La Porte, Nolan Steele, Pieterjan Van Der Merwe, and Shange Sanele ran hot on one another’s heels into T1. Van Der Merwe completed first run leg in a fastest time of 32:22. The pack stayed together on the cycle, no doubt recovering from the run prior and trying to reserve a little energy for the final 5km run still to come. The pack finished the cycle in a time of 50:09. Out of the second transition zone, two athletes packed on the pace from the onset, breaking away from the remaining group and staying neck-on-neck until the very last stride. De La Porte and Steele finished in a tied first place in a time of 1:39:36. Van Der Merwe finished in third. De La Porte was elated with his race, especially the first run, as it was close to his personal best 10km time, De La Porte is now preparing for the World Triathlon Series Junior men’s Grand Final race in Gold Coast, Australia.

In the ladies challenge duathlon, the women were scattered throughout the race. Jodie Berry was the first lady into T1, with a minute lead on the second lady, Desiree Verwey. Verwey managed to make up some ground on the bike leg, (with the help of a strong pack?) and took the lead. Berry tried to make up the deficit on the second run but was not able to reel in Verwey. Verwey won the race in a time of 2:00:37, with Berry coming in second in a time of 2:01:51. Amanda Hawke rounded up the podium in a time of 2:06:47.

In the sprint event a strong junior lineup ran much of the first 5km together, and worked as a pack on the bike, much to the delight of Amber Schlebusch, who was hoping to practice pack riding for her upcoming international racing. One athlete made a breakaway before the cycle was up, leaving the chase in pursuit. With a dangling carrot being all she needed for motivation for a hard 2,5km run, Schlebusch crossed the finish line in first place overall in a time of 1:06:24. Having returned from successful European junior season only three weeks prior (and having taken two of those weeks off) Schlebusch was content with her form going into her next training block. Schlebusch is hoping to make the Youth Olympic Games team, but is otherwise also preparing for World Triathlon Series Junior women’s Grand Final race in Gold Coast, Australia.

Cameron Nel won the men’s division in a time of 1:06:39, with Chase Stevens coming in second in a time of 1:07:22. Christopher Wilkinson claimed third place in a time of 1:09:00. The second lady over the line was Bridget Theunissen in a time of 1:11:10 and the podium was topped off by Liza Van Rooyen.

Racing his first race since his accident earlier this year, Mhlengi Gwala completed the run section for his team in the sprint. He is happy to be back training and racing, so much so that he even completed an 8km run the evening before the race as a ‘warmup run’. His determination and willfulness to succeed in a full recovery have exceeded the expectations of many. One may look forward to his future results.

The final Tinman will be held on the 28th of October 2018. Entries close the Tuesday before the race at 14:00.