Editorial | Ironman feats an inspiration to all

Image: The Herald

Ironman fever has infected Nelson Mandela Bay, and from tomorrow the annual parade of swimming, biking and running begins.

The African Championship, as the event is officially known, is rather special in the way it brings together some of the world’s premier triathletes, who race alongside (or, should we say, mostly ahead of) thousands of very ordinary folk for whom the only ambition is to finish the race.

The main event is held on Sunday and in true Bay style is expected to put on a sporting showcase for the hordes of people lining the course, cheering on their champs and loved ones.

It is a festival atmosphere that continues to attract greater crowds and more participants.

Organisers are already mulling changes next year to accommodate the growing demand for entries.

That is a real feather in the cap for the city and Ironman South Africa, and stands both in good stead for the upcoming 70.3 World Championships in September, of which so much is being made.

Some are seeing this weekend’s 14th staging of the full-distance race as a dress rehearsal for the “big one” in a few months.

Here’s hoping the weather plays its part and the event goes off like a dream.
Whatever the outcome, the human drama that goes in tandem with Ironman promises to be ever-present.

The Herald has reported on two individuals defying the odds to take their starting places at Hobie Beach on Sunday.

Matt Trautman, among the group of premier athletes, suffered terrible spinal injury when a car struck him during a training ride last January.

He’s not only back, but hot off a win at the Ironman 70.3 in East London in January.

In the same edition on Wednesday we carried a riveting piece about American defence correspondent Jackie Faye, who works and trains in Afghanistan and is bidding to finish six Ironman events on six continents in a year.

Theirs are stories that permeate the Ironman legend, prime examples of what can be achieved when the mind conquers the body.

There is much inspiration to be drawn from these incredible feats of endurance.

So good luck to all the athletes – this is your day.