Ironmen from 35 countries for 70.3 African champs set for PE later this year

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IT’S ALMOST that time of year again when we see athletes from around the world descend upon East London to compete in the physically gruelling Standard Bank Ironman 70.3.

The famous triathlon will take place later this month and expects to see 117 athletes travelling from 35 different countries around the world to compete for the title, according to Ironman South Africa spokesman Michael Flanagan.

Athletes will begin their race at 7am with a 1.9km ocean swim at Orient Beach, which is protected by the breakwaters of East London’s harbour.

A 90km cycle will be up next, ending off with a 21km flat run consisting of two loops with spectacular ocean views.

In total, athletes will cover a distance of 113km, taking them back to Orient Beach, where athletes will be greeted by African dancers, music and spectators at the finish line.

IRONCLAD: Jody Swallow, from Great Britain, heads out the water and on to the cycle leg of Ironman 70.3 during last year’s event. Swallow successfully defended her title last year and will hope to make it three in a row when she returns to the Buffalo City event next weekend Picture: FILE/SARAH KINGON

Special Ironman 70.3 South Africa trophies will be awarded to the top three athletes in each group category for both male and female competitors. Athletes also stand a chance to qualify for one of the 35 slots available for the Ironman 70.3 World Championships, which will take place in September in Chattanooga, Tennessee, in the United States.

The Ironman African Championship will also take place later this year in Port Elizabeth, the Eastern Cape city that was also awarded the 2018 Ironman 70.3 World Championships.

This will be the first time that an Ironman World Championship event will be held on the African continent and the event is expected to attract more than 6000 of the world’s best triathletes from more than 100 global qualifying events in locations such as China, Australia, Spain, South Africa and the Americas.

PURE STAMINA: Competitors take on the long climb during the cycle leg of Ironman 70.3 during last year’s event Picture: FILE

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