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High calibre athletes at 2019 Standard Bank IRONMAN African Championship

Mar 27, 2019
High calibre athletes at 2019 Standard Bank IRONMAN African Championship

Port Elizabeth - Nelson Mandela Bay will be buzzing with excitement on the 6th and 7th of April, when the 2019 Standard Bank IRONMAN African Championship will be held in Port Elizabeth.

This popular triathlon which consists of a 3.8km swim, a 180km bike and a 42.2km run is South Africa’s toughest one day race and will see athletes from all over the world participate to hear the words: "You are an IRONMAN!”

"The journey between Standard Bank and IRONMAN South Africa began in 2014 and since then we have seen this event and the sport of triathlon grow from strength to strength," says Desiree Pooe: Executive Head, Standard Bank Sponsorship.

"This IRONMAN weekend is all about conquering your own personal barriers, showing commitment, improving on your past performances and continuing to persevere when your body is desperately hanging in there for dear life. 

"It’s taken a tremendous amount of courage in taking the leap of entering one of Africa’s most prestigious endurance events.”

Out of the 41 IRONMAN series events that took place internationally in 2018, the Standard Bank IRONMAN African Championship ranked in the Top 10 in multiple categories in the Athlete Choice Awards (including a top honor for Overall Post Race Celebration Experience) marking a major accomplishment for the event and the host community.

The Standard Bank IRONMAN African Championship was selected 2nd in Best Overall Swim, selected 2nd in Will Attend Next Year’s Event, tied 4th in Best Overall Run Experience, selected 7th in Overall Venue Experience, and selected 8th in Will Recommend To A Friend in the 2018 Athlete Choice Awards.

What will excite spectators this year is the high calibre of professional athletes that will be racing at this year’s Standard Bank IRONMAN African Championship event. Both the defending champions, Kyle Buckingham (South African) and Lucy Charles (British), are back to defend their title against a tough field.

American, Ben Hoffman, who won the African Championship in 2016 and 2017 is back to try take back the bragging rights from Buckingham. Other athletes to look out for are South Africans James Cunnama and Matt Trautman, American fan favourite Tim Don, and David McNamee from the United Kingdom, who placed 3rd in the IRONMAN World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawai`i in 2017 and 2018.

And after winning the Standard Bank IRONMAN 70.3 South Africa in Buffalo City this year, South African Annah Watkinson, will be full of confidence going into this race.

Standard Bank IRONMAN African Championship has a new route

This year, the Standard Bank IRONMAN African Championship has a new route. The swim course has been kept the same with the 3.8km swim taking place at Hobbie Beach.

The change comes on the 180km bike course. Instead of heading right out of the Transition Area, athletes will now head out left and do the 2018 Isuzu IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship bike course in reverse.

The run has been shifted onto Driftsands Drive to remove 2km of ‘dead space’, which allows for athletes to feel the excitement much more by being surrounded by supporters for a longer period.

"We are excited about the change. The new course is a much fairer and a safer course – we don’t have to take the PRO’s through the Age Groupers so that allows more space on the course. The route also allows for a faster and smoother bike course surface as we will be using the lane that was fixed for the 2018 Isuzu IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship," says Paul Wolff: Operations Director of IRONMAN South Africa.

"The athletes will appreciate the last 13km of the bike course a lot more as it is downhill, and this will allow the legs some time to recover before heading of on the run."

There are two build-up events to the 2019 Standard Bank IRONMAN African Championship that will take place on 6 April 2019. The first is the Isuzu Corporate Triathlon Challenge powered by Algoa FM which is 10% of an IRONMAN distance.

This event starts at Hobie Beach at 07h50am. Following this, the Spur IRONKIDS sponsored by Pritt will start at 12h00pm at the McArthur Pools & Leisure Centre, where the kids will swim 100m and run 1.2km to finish on the red carpet at Hobie Beach.

Both events sold out before entries closed, highlighting just how popular these events are.

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