Ironman 2016 attempts to break attendance record


Through a combination of a strong professional field, a new race route and an attempted spectator record; the Ironman is set to execute one of the most interesting events in its 12-year history.

The annual Standard Bank Ironman triathlon African Championship takes place on Sunday 10th April at Hobie Beach, Port Elizabeth.

The ‘Every IRONMAN® needs an IRONFan’ promotional campaign hopes to see a record crowd attendance at the race on the newly implemented spectator-friendly course.

The event will now take place with a unique dimension on a new race route in order to attract as many spectators as possible in a record attempt of over 100 000 spectators.

This will make up the biggest ‘IRONfan’ crowd ever seen in Africa. Spectators are asked to enter the race arena through the two main entrances to the Boardwalk complex (2nd Avenue and Marine Drive) where they will be counted via the venue’s football technology.

Aerial images will then also be shot by the media and live broadcasting teams of the finish line, which will be broadcasted across the world through web streaming. The aerial footage will be broadcasted at around 14:45 on race day, shortly before the winners are welcomed through.

The streaming will stretch across nearly 60 countries worldwide where viewers are expected to watch the broadcast. The 2016 annual event will render the most countries ever represented at the Ironman African Championship of 68 countries, which will be represented by a record 616 international athletes.

The professional field of competitors in the race includes South African trio, James Cunnama, Matt Trautman and local Port Elizabeth man, Kyle Buckingham. 

Current Ironman 70.3 European Champion, Boris Stein, from Germany and Ironman South Africa 2013 Champion, Ronnie Schildknecht, from Switzerland, will also knuckle down to chase the title this weekend.  

The professional women’s field sets to be one of the strongest to date, featuring defending Ironman African Woman Champion, Jodie Swallow, while British competitors, Susie Cheetham and Lucy Gosage are strong contenders also looking to book a podium spot.

The Ironman Village will have food and beverages on sale and is situated right where the finish line festivities will occur.

Potential men competitors to look out for: Tim van Berkel (AUS), Ronnie Schildknecht (SUI), Boris Stein (GER), Kyle Buckingham (RSA), Ben Hoffman (USA), James Cunnama (RSA), Matt Trautman (RSA), David Plese (SLO).

Potential women competitors to look out for: Jodie Swallow (GBR), Annabel Luxford (AUS), Asa Lundstrom (SWE), Lucy Gossage (GBR), Susie Cheetham (GBR), Lucy Gosage (GBR), Kaisa Lehtonen (FIN), Dede Griesbauer (USA).

Image: Sea of swim caps competes with the pastel-coloured morning sky at the Shark Rock Pier, Hobie Beach, at a previous Ironman South Africa race.