Athletes, public enjoy Ironman 70.3

By Nonsindiso Qwabe

Dozens of contestants from across the country and globe swam, cycled, and ran to cross the finish line in one of South Africa’s biggest racing competitions, the Standard Bank Ironman 70.3 in East London yesterday.

The race started early with a 1.9km swim at Orient Beach. Contestants then had to cycle 90km towards Berlin and back, sealing the day on foot with a 21km run.

By midday, the sun was blazing but contestants braved it out to run two laps over hills and flat surfaces across the city to experience the thrill of crossing the finish line.

Thousands of cheering supporters lined the route and the area between the Esplanade and Orient Beach.

Charlotte Acker travelled all the way from Krugersdorp to support her husband’s first race in the city.

“There is such an awesome atmosphere here, the race is sterlingly organised,” she said.

Fungi Malgas and her whole family had travelled from Butterworth to watch her son take part

“He’s been everywhere with these competitions, so we decided to come and see him because this is close to home. It’s been great to see for myself everything they do here,” she said.

Eugene Gerber, from Johannesburg, has taken part in the Ironman since 2013.

“It’s the toughest course in South Africa, but the vibe and support keep me coming back each year. This year was tougher than expected, but worth it,” he said.

Christine Claasen of Port Elizabeth said it was her “best year ever”.

“It was awesome. It took me 11 years to do my best time,” she said.

For Siya Dawethi, also from PE, the motivation of the supporters keeps him coming back each year.

“I’m extremely tired, but I feel great. The support from our fans is amazing, it keeps you encouraged.” — nonsindisoq@dispatch.co.za

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