Hoffman aims for hat-trick of Ironman Africa Championship titles

US triathlete Ben Hoffman is aiming for his third Ironman Africa title
US triathlete Ben Hoffman is aiming for his third Ironman Africa title
Image: Werner Hills

Two-time Standard Bank Ironman Africa Championship winner and last year’s champion, Ben Hoffman, will be gunning for a hat-trick of titles when the event sets off from Hobie Beach in Summerstrand on Sunday.

The professional triathlete from Grand Junction, Colorado, in the US, set a new course record in Ironman last year when he crossed the finish line in seven hours, 58 minutes and 40 seconds, to clinch his second consecutive Ironman African Championship victory.

His first success came in the same event in 2016.

Although the spotlight will be on him tomorrow, the 34-year-old said he was not too worried about outside pressure.

“There is always pressure, but I think the biggest pressure comes from myself,” Hoffman said.

“I definitely feel pressure but I wouldn’t say that the external pressure is something that really bothers me too much.

“I just have a lot of expectations for myself and my own performance. I love this race and so I think it always helps to be back in Port Elizabeth and know that the energy here, the crowd and supporters are incredible.

“The race organisation does an awesome job of putting on a good, safe race.
“I think all those things come together and they give me a lot of energy too,” he added.

Hoffman recently competed in the Cape Epic with race partner Sebastian Kienle of Germany.

He said the Epic was the hardest and most challenging race he had ever competed in in his sporting career.

He said the Epic had, however, strengthened his cycling discipline and mentally it had taught him a lot about his limits in terms of how much discomfort he could take.

Meanwhile, British professional triathlete Emma Pallant will be hoping to make an impressive Port Elizabeth debut tomorrow.

The 28-year-old athlete who won the 2017 Penticton ITU Aquathlon World Championships participated in her first race in South Africa in East London, when she took on the 70.3 Ironman race in January, coming in second.

She said her preparations had gone well.

“I was with Team Dillon out in Spain and we had a good camp and I feel fit and ready to go,” Pallant said.

“I arrived in PE on Wednesday afternoon.

“The weather is good, it’s windy so I think it will be a tough course, but that is a good thing. I think it makes it an honest race.

“We went on the bike course with my training partner.

“It’s not an easy course, but hopefully that will spread the race out a bit.”