5150 African Triathlon Series postponed to 2021
Amateur triathletes will have to wait more than 12 months to get stuck into the 5150 African Triathlon Series with the 2020 races being postponed to next year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The first race was scheduled to take place in Bela Bela on August 15, before heading to Ekhuruleni and then on to Nelson Mandela Bay for the final leg.
The new dates will now be in 2021 with Bela Bela on August 21, Ekhuruleni on October 24 with Nelson Mandela Bay set for November 21.
The series has been running in SA since 2011, with the Nelson Mandela Bay leg being added to the roster in 2016.
The decision to postpone the series comes after the Ironman African Championships, originally scheduled to take place on March 29, was rescheduled to November 15.
The Ironman SA 70.3 event in Durban, which was scheduled to take place next month, also received a new date and will now take place on June 6 2021.
Ironman SA media and communication specialist Siya Ndzimande told The Herald the safety of all athletes was of paramount importance and was a big factor in the decision taken to reschedule events.
“We have been working diligently to secure new venues and race dates.
“The decisions were made in consultation with our event partners and in alignment with the South African department of health.
“This marks the first time that Ironman SA has ever had to reschedule or postpone an event,” Ndzimande said.
Ndzimande said there had not been many registrations for the Bela Bela event before the postponement. He said entries would carry over to next year.
Featuring the ever popular 5150 distance of a 1.5km swim, 40km cycle and 10km run, it is often seen as a solid introduction to the sport for aspiring triathletes while also offering a decent challenge to the more seasoned athletes.
With no triathlon action scheduled in SA until November at least, Ndzimnade felt growth of the sport has not been damaged, thanks to the introduction of the Ironman Virtual Club earlier this year.
The Virtual Club was established to give athletes the chance to compete in weekly races with like-minded racers from across the globe.
Called Virtual Races, these events are held weekly and include a Pro Challenge which sees professional men and women go head-to-head in the heat of competition from wherever they are based.
“We have been encouraged by the number of South African triathletes racing online by joining the Ironman Virtual Club.
“Despite the current challenges in being able to train, SA is among the top 10 countries out of more than 160 when it comes to the number of participants with over 1,000 athletes having raced an Ironman VR race to date.
“This is a positive sign as it shows our athletes are ready and eager to race by maintaining their fitness during these uncertain times.
“While we are prevented from holding the events on the original dates, we are looking forward to providing athletes with an exceptional race experience in 2021,” Ndzimande said.