IronMan action this Sunday

2016-04-06 06:00
Pictured is Port Elizabeth estate agent, Mariëtte Hattingh training for her 10th Ironman competition. Hattingh is one of the favourites to win her age group (50 to 54 years). In Port Elizabeth she has already won her age group three times. If she wins again, she can expect her fourth invitation to the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii, where she hopes to achieve a first time top-10 position in her age group.  Photo: Deon Ferreira

Pictured is Port Elizabeth estate agent, Mariëtte Hattingh training for her 10th Ironman competition. Hattingh is one of the favourites to win her age group (50 to 54 years). In Port Elizabeth she has already won her age group three times. If she wins again, she can expect her fourth invitation to the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii, where she hopes to achieve a first time top-10 position in her age group. Photo: Deon Ferreira

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THIS year the Standard Bank IRONMAN African Championship race will be bringing triathletes even closer to their fans.

On Sunday April 10, Nelson Mandela Bay will be swarming with all that is IRONMAN and thousands of IRONFans that will be hoping to catch a glimpse of their favourite IRONMAN.

Due to a change of the course of the race, the bike course now takes athletes out on two flat, fast laps of 90 km on one of the most spectacular bike courses on the IRONMAN circuit.

The new route takes athletes along the coast at Marine Drive, delivering sweeping views of the ocean and the rugged coastline along a marine protected area, before moving slightly inland at Seaview on an undulating scenic countryside section.

Athletes return along the coast to the transition area to start the run.

With the first change to the run course in its eleven-year history, the new run course will bring athletes closer to their fans and friends than ever thanks to four loops along Marine Drive where a whopping 100 000 IRONFans are expected to show their support.

The swim start is at 6:30am on Sunday morning, and spectators can make their way to Hobie Beach to view the exciting start of the race when athletes begin their swim towards Kings Beach.

The bike portion of the race is expected to start around 7:45am. From this time, right until approximately 4:15pm, spectators and residents of Marine Drive, Schoenmakerskop, Beachview and Sardinia Bay can expect athletes to pass by.

IRONFans and spectators can expect some of the professional athletes to begin their run portion of the race around 1:20pm and the cut off time for the last athlete will be approximately at 11:55pm.

The run portion will be able to be viewed on Marine Drive from Second Avenue to Admiralty Way.

The men’s challenge will be one of the most open races in the history of the event with a strong, balanced professional men’s field set to line up on Sunday.

With an impressive record and having won in South Africa in 2013, Swiss athlete Ronnie Schildknecht will be one to watch.

Schildknecht became the first man to win seven consecutive IRONMAN titles at IRONMAN Switzerland in 2013.

The South African challenge will be an interesting one with Matt Trautman, James Cunnama and Kyle Buckingham all capable of achieving the win.

The women’s event will also be raced by one of the strongest professional women’s fields that this event has ever seen. Defending champion Jodie Swallow (34), will have to pull out all the stops to ensure that she can claim back-to-back wins at the Standard Bank IRONMAN African Championship.

Fellow Brit and four-time IRONMAN champion, Lucy Gossage (36), will be aiming to claim top spot after her impressive second place finish in 2015. Another resilient contender from the United Kingdom is Susie Cheetham (30).

To those who would not like to miss out on the action, but cannot make it down to the action, live streaming of the race will be up and running at www.ironman.com.

Click here and here for detailed routes and road closures during IRONMAN.

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