Port Elizabeth’s friendly citizens and its beautiful scenery are huge drawcards that will keep athletes returning to the city long after Ironman has been completed, Cape Town-based triathlete Annah Watkinson said.
Watkinson and 29 other triathletes, both local and international, took part in a three day training camp with iconic Bay triathlete and coach Raynard Tissink over the weekend.
“When they say it’s the Friendly City, they hit the nail on the head, it has a relaxing atmosphere,” she said. “What’s not to love about a city by the sea?”
Watkinson, who is coached by Tissink, said she came to get a break from her usual routine.
An ambassador for the 70.3 world championships later this year, Watkinson said it was a huge honour to be selected for such a spectacular event.
“It’s just an amazing city and it shows the world what we are capable of.”
Tissink, head coach at Raynard Tissink Coaching Academy, took the group on a reconnaissance-like mission around the city as they swam, cycled and ran the length and breadth of the Ironman course in each discipline.
Tissink said the camp was geared up to prepare athletes for the Ironman African Championships.
He said another camp would be held in August in preparation for the 70.3 world championships in September.
“Every year before Ironman, to build our athletes’ confidence, we try to get all our athletes to [Port Elizabeth] to train on the course,” Tissink said.
American triathlete Michael Wendorf, 60, said friendships formed over the years had kept him in the sport for so long.
Taking on the African championships for the first time, Wendorf said the course was very challenging.
“The Fynbos is new to me and the coastal area, being able to look at the sea, is just amazing,” he said.