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2020 Ironman African Championship bike route returns to athlete favourite

Jan 14, 2020
2020 Ironman African Championship bike route returns to athlete favourite

Port Elizabeth - IRONMAN South Africa, a Wanda Sports Group company, announced on Tuesday a change to the bike route for the upcoming 16th IRONMAN African Championship. The annual event will take place on March 29, 2020 in Nelson Mandela Bay.

After ongoing monitoring of route conditions, taking into account feedback from athletes and local stakeholders, organisers have taken the decision to throw back to the popular, nearly all-coastal bike course enjoyed by athletes between 2016 and 2018.

The course will take athletes from Hobie Beach, along the coast before heading slightly inland, touching down back towards the coast and turning at Seaview Village to complete the reverse back to transition.

“We are excited to return to the bike course our athletes have come to love and enjoy. The route also eases congestion coming into the city and will benefit the public more on race day with fewer road closures necessary.

"Naturally, the safety of our athletes remains our top priority and we are committed to providing the best possible race experience,” said Paul Wolff, Operations Director of IRONMAN South Africa.

The IRONMAN African Championship, one of the world’s most iconic races, is characterized by its breathtaking coastal setting and the unmistakable Port Elizabeth spectator support. During the event’s 16-year history the race has undergone various evolutions to strike the right balance between endurance challenge, embracing the best of the stunning location and providing an unforgettable athlete experience.

The course features a great contrast between sweeping coastal views and green countryside. From an experiential perspective, the route is slightly faster with 685m elevation gain as opposed to 865m on the previous course. The course was also rated at 94% by athletes for overall bike course satisfaction in the Athlete Survey compared to 92% for the 2019 course.

This route takes athletes along Marine Drive to Schoenmakerskop where the road makes a right, up a steady climb. Athletes then continue for 4kms before taking a left turn onto Sardinia Bay Road. O

nce through the Sardinia Bay area, athletes take a sharp right turn with a short climb up Heron Road. At the next intersection, Seaview Road, athletes will turn left and enjoy an undulating and scenic countryside section.

On entering Seaview village, there is a sharp left onto Elizabeth Road. Athletes then turnaround and head back on the same route to transition.

The swim course remains the same with the 3.8km swim taking place at Hobie Beach. The change comes on the 180.2km bike course. On exiting Transition, athletes will turn left as the bike course will head out and back along Marine Drive towards Schoenmakerskop, Sardinia Bay and Seaview area.

A fast-flat four loop run course along the beachfront awaits the athletes once out of Transition. Athletes will get to take in the sea breeze and enjoy a spectator filled run course during the final leg of the race.

When exiting Transition, athletes will turn right onto Marine Drive heading towards Humewood, turning around at Perrott Avenue and going back down Marine Drive, past the Transition area where they will then then turn right up Admiralty Way to the University Way junction, running around the island and continuing back on the same route for the next loop.

“We are delighted to be able to offer breath taking views that are typical of the IRONMAN African Championship experience. The race has true South African spirit and incredible support that leaves a lasting memory.

"We would like to thank all involved for making this possible and look forward to welcoming athletes from all around the world to Nelson Mandela Bay,” said Keith Bowler, Managing Director of IRONMAN South Africa.

Image: Chris Hitchcock for IRONMAN

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