Luvuyo Bangazi | Stay one step ahead of Ironman action this weekend
Nelson Mandela Bay has been hosting the Ironman South Africa spectacle for more than 10 years now and the event seems to grow both in stature and popularity among the people of the Bay.
Not so long ago, a security guard at my child’s pre-primary approached me to help him secure a volunteer role.
That’s how much locals want to be part of this iconic event, giving their time freely.
Earlier this week, a friend reached out to see if the event organiser could accommodate an athlete’s wife who had come along to support her hubby.
She happens to be a qualified triathlon referee and was keen to offer her time and expertise.
Ironman director Paul Wolff always mentions the fact that this is probably the only sport he knows of where people are prepared to put a permanent tattoo on themselves as a mark of pride.
Thousands of Bay citizens and visitors will be following the event along the coast and the streets of Port Elizabeth.
Millions more will follow via popular social media platforms and live television.
How do you make sure you don’t miss your favourite athletes or key moments of the race? Hopefully, I can help you out here.
Having participated in this event four times, twice on the current route, I think I qualify to offer a bit of spectator advice.
First, decide on the athletes you intend to track and make sure you have their bib numbers.
The Ironman event website will have all the bib numbers on the athletes’ page. Write these bib numbers down because they will come in handy for the next steps.
Step two, find a relevant mobile tracking app. There are many good and free apps out there on both the Android or IOS platforms. I use MTracker. It’s free and very easy to navigate.
Once downloaded, you will need to punch all those bib numbers into your app and this will help you stay one step ahead and follow your favourite athletes on land.
Step three, use the information on the app as a guide to move around the city through various hot spots to spot your favourite athletes coming through and have a camera ready.
The app information gives predictions for the cycle and run legs, so you can be there at the finish line to capture the moment.
Those who choose to sit at home have two more options, in SuperSport and via SMS.
SuperSport’s channel 8 broadcast the event live all day.
The downside to this is that the professional field tends to dominate the coverage and chance of you spotting your loved one is one in 2 000.
The alternative for those who prefer to simply get updates is the SMS line. The trusted, good old SMS still has uses – send your favourite athlete’s bib number to 39408 for a once-off service cost of R15. The proceeds from this line are donated to will various charities supported by Ironman 4 the Kidz foundation.
With all the digital platforms highlighted, nothing beats the vibe along the course, the braai smells and first-hand accounts of how the body follows the mind when there is nothing left in the tank.
This event is rated tops in terms of spectator support, thanks to the people of the Bay.
Today I give you permission to pick your spot along the course on the beachfront, Marine Drive, Sards, Seaview or Beachview, and for this one special day in the calendar of Nelson Mandela metro. Expropriate it without compensation, Bay.