Thousands of brave athletes flocked to East London to take on the gruelling Standard Bank Ironman 70.3 South Africa on Sunday. Despite the drop in the number of participants compared to 2018 last year’s and the shortened swimming race due to the rough sea conditions, the event was a success.
Ironman spokesperson Siyabonga Ndzimande said the number of athletes who entered on Sunday was 1,986 – which was 400 less than in 2018.last year.
“The decrease was expected as last year, the world championship was held in Port Elizabeth and this year it will be held in France, so fewer South Africans are willing to travel to France to participate.
“This year, 35% of the field is female, the highest we’ve had for a long time, because we started a Woman For Tri Initiative so we’ve got 25 extra slots for women to go to France,” Ndzimande said.
He indicated the swimming race was shortened due to bad sea conditions. “The swim is usually 1.9km but was cut to 1.100m for the safety of the athletes.
“The athletes were told in time so that those who want to pull out can pull out and those who want to go can continue.
“The safety boats and lifeguards were there to make sure the athletes were safe,” said Ndzimande said.
The top three male winners were: Bradley Weiss, James Cunnama and Matt Trautman.
The top three female winners were: Annah Watkinson, Emma Pallant and Jade Nicole Roberts.
All top three winners received their medals from BCM executive mayor Xola Pakati.
Weiss defeated the defending champ, Trautman, with a time of 3:53:50.“Coming across the finish line, I couldn’t be more happier.
“I am really stoked to have qualified for the World Ironman later in the year,” he said.
Watkinson said she was thrilled is very happy about winning, highlighting that the race was tough but she kept focused all the way.
“My goal in this race was to see if I could execute what I had done in training.
“I am looking forward to racing on Friday in the Ironman 70.3 Dubai,” she said.