Tough fight among huge 70.3 entry

Britain’s ‘relieved’ Jodie Cunnama keeps title

TENSE MOMENT: Competitors get ready to take off for the 10th Ironman 70.3 South Africa at Orient Beach on Sunday Pictures: QHAMANI LINGANI

MORE than 2000 athletes converged on Buffalo City this past weekend for the 10th annual Standard Bank Ironman 70.3 South Africa.

Seven-time winner Jodie Cunnama was the first woman in again and finished the race in 04:39:49.

The British athlete said she was more relieved than anything as everyone expected her to win, which put added pressure on her.

BCM executive mayor Xola Phakathi, addressing participants, their supporters and the media, said the municipality was very proud to have hosted the event for 10 years and to be associated with the brand.

Cunnama’s compatriot, Susie Cheetham finished her race in second in 04:40:51.

“I think I am the queen of second places which is never a good place to be. I am pleased though. Last year I broke my elbow but this time I was fighting all the way. I did my best,” Cheetham said.

Ironman 70.3 South Africa winner Romain Guillaume, who finished in 04:08:58, said he was a bit worried that James Cunnama, who came second, would take the win because he had a very good swim.

“I was forced to then make a gap because three years ago he caught me. I did my very best to make the biggest gap possible.

“With a six-minute lead on the bike, I knew I had a great chance to get victory but still wasn’t sure because James is very fast. I am happy. It was a perfect race,” Guillaume said.

James Cunnama, who was right behind Guillaume with 04:11:27, said second place was a little frustrating.

“You aim for the win. It is close but not quite yet there, but I am happy with my race.

“I did the best I could. I didn’t have a great swim. I then worked hard on the bike.

“It is a deserving victory for Romain,” he said.

Despite the heat, all the competitors enjoyed a great event.

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