Strong field for iconic Ironman champs

Cameron Wurf (Australia), Ben Hoffman (US) and Kyle Buckingham (SA) are competing in this year's Standard Bank Ironman Africa Champion
Cameron Wurf (Australia), Ben Hoffman (US) and Kyle Buckingham (SA) are competing in this year's Standard Bank Ironman Africa Champion
Image: Werner Hills

With a strong field of international and local athletes, the 14th Standard Bank Ironman African Championship has been touted as one of the biggest-ever triathlons in Port Elizabeth.

This year, 56 professionals will take part, with 1 900 amateur athletes joining in.

Some of the top athletes include Susie Cheetham, Cameron Wurf and Annah Watkinson.

Nelson Mandela Bay will have a strong presence with 172 athletes.

The race consists of a 3.8km swim followed by a 180km cycle and 42km run.

England’s Cheetham, who has raced on South African soil numerous times, said: “Running down Marine Drive with braai smoke blowing in my face is one of the things that keeps me coming back.”

South African-based Watkinson said she was excited about the race and felt like the underdog with the strong field of professional women.

“It’s an unusual feeling for me. I feel like a bit of an underdog and not the person expected to do really well, which helps in taking the pressure off me and my performance.”

Australian Wurf said he hoped for a great race.

“I love the crowd. I don’t think I’ve been to a place where so many people know my name and wish me luck,” he said.

Municipal spokesman Mthubanzi Mniki said the weekend was expected to draw about 45 000 spectators on the beachfront, with an additional 80 000 along the entire course.

Full road closures can be expected from 5am to midnight on Sunday on Marine Drive from Lodge Road to the Summerstrand Hotel as well as on Admiralty Way from Marine Drive to University Way.

Partial closures will include Marine Drive from Walmer Boulevard to La Roche Drive and La Roche Drive to Lodge Road.

Full road closures from 5am to 5pm will include Marine Drive, Victoria Drive, Sardinia Bay Road, Heron Road, Seaview Road and Elizabeth Road.

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