Wills of steel in Ironman

Neale Emslie

SWISS athlete Ronnie Schildknecht and American ace Jessie Donovan were crowned Spec- Savers Ironman SA champions in a remarkable day of racing in hot conditions in Port Elizabeth yesterday.

A packed beachfront greeted the athletes even before the sun had risen and the encouragement from family, friends and fans grew during the day.

There was also an outstanding performance from Kyle Buckingham, who was the leading age-group athlete in a time of 8:34:34, placing him in the top 10, although the Ironman organisers still need to confirm the official times.

Schildknecht took the men’s title in his third Ironman SA race in a time of eight hours, 11 minutes, 23 seconds. He was followed home by Frenchman Cyril Viennot (8:19:50) and the Netherlands’ Bas Diederen (8:20:08).

It was the American Donovan, however, who stole the show with a stunning comeback in the 42.2km run when she overturned a 20-minute deficit to haul in the talented Swallow in the women’s event, taking the title in 9:10:57. Swallow held on for second (9:16:59), followed by Lucie Reed (9:27:06).

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