Michelle Enslin ready to tackle home Ironman race

Double world champion believes bike course will test athletes

Ironman managing director Keith Bowler is flanked by double Ironman age group world champion Michelle Enslin (left) and Desiree Pooe head of sponsorships at Standard Bank (right).
Ironman managing director Keith Bowler is flanked by double Ironman age group world champion Michelle Enslin (left) and Desiree Pooe head of sponsorships at Standard Bank (right).
Image: Amir Chetty

With just over three weeks to go to race day, all roads will lead to Nelson Mandela Bay as Ironman Fever begins to grip the city.

The countdown to the start cannon of the 15th Standard Bank Ironman African championships is well underway as athletes and organisers gathered for the official press conference for the April 7 event set to take the metro's beachfront by storm with local and international talent.

The event, held at the Boardwalk Hotel and Casino, welcomed various dignitaries from the Nelson Mandela Bay, title sponsor Standard Bank, in addition to half and full distance Ironman age group champion Michelle Enslin, among other esteemed guests.

Enslin, who will be racing in the orange gear of Ironman for the Kids again this year, said she was excited to be racing at home, even more so now that she holds the world titles across both half and full distance Ironman races.

With the change in the bike and run courses for the 2019 edition of the race, Enslin said it will be a tough course this year which would properly test the skills of each athlete.

The bike course takes athletes along Marine Drive, proceeding left onto Sardinia Bay Road and right onto Heron Road.

Athletes will turn left onto Seaview Road and continue to the turnaround approximately 1.3km from De Stades Road.

Heading back along Seaview Road, athletes will go through Mount Pleasant on Buffelsfontein/Heugh Road all the way to the Walmer Boulevard–Settlers Highway intersection, where they will turn right back onto Marine Drive.

Speaking to The Herald on Wednesday, Enslin said: “It’s going to be tough and we as athletes have to be ready for a tough day at the office.

You are going to have to keep your head, stay cool, and be conservative with giving out your energy, anyway the wind blows it’s going to be hard, there will be no favourable wind,
Michelle Enslin- Ironman full and half distance age group world champion

“You are going to have to keep your head, stay cool, and be conservative with giving out your energy. Anyway the wind blows it’s going to be hard, there will be no favourable wind,” she said.

Asked about her racing at home as a double world champion, Enslin added: “It makes me very emotional, very tearful. I have had so many messages from people from all walks of life who have thanked me for my story.

“I hope I can inspire people to take on this journey and never give up. I have been overwhelmed by the support and people acknowledging what I have done,” she added.

As the 15th edition of the race closes in roughly 62 nations will be represented at the event with at least nine African countries represented across the close to 2000 athletes anticipated to take to the start line.

The iconic race, will feature a 3.8km swim starting at Hobie Beach, before the 180km bike course which is followed by a 42.2 marathon consisting of four laps along Marine Drive and halfway up Driftsands Drive before turning back.  

Ironman SA managing director Keith Bowler, who has recently returned from the 2018 Ironman Athletes Choice Awards where PE won best post-race celebration internationally decided by athlete surveys, said the event continued to rack up the accolades on the international Ironman scene. 

“We want to thank our sponsors for partnering with us, each one of our partners play a massive and critical role, and together, we look forward to another memorable weekend,” he added.

 

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