IRONMAN EVENT IN PORT ELIZABETH
In 2008, for the third year in a row, Nelson Mandela Bay was privy to the wonder of the Ironman triathlon. From the first half-distance Ironman in 2004, to the phenomenon of the 2005 full-distance event, and now to the second fully-fledged full-distance Ironman, the event has taken Nelson Mandela Bay and South African by storm.
Athletes sign themselves up for an agonizing 17-hour day where they swim 3,8km, then get onto a bike for a 180km cycle, which is followed by the final test of their endurance, a 42,2km marathon, to be completed before the 17-hour cut-off time.
Participants range from super athletes that will finish the race in less than nine hours to those with physical disabilities that use the challenge of Ironman to prove to themselves that they are capable of extraordinary deeds. Husbands and wives have to lead exceptionally balanced lifestyles balancing the responsibilities of work and family life with a demanding training regime. The reward though remains the same: join the ranks of thousands of athletes worldwide that have set out to finish on of the premiet endurance races globally. The Ironman South Africa is the only one on the African continent, and for those aiming to win and Ironman on every continent, the lure of the African title is compelling.
In 2008 local hero and South African Ironman champion Raynard Tissink defended his African Ironman title against the winner of the 2005 Ford World Ironman Champion Faris Al-Sultan. Tissink said after his resounding win last year that coming down the finish chute was like no other finish line ha had experienced anywhere in the world.
“The noise was deafening, the commentators shouting over the PA and the spectators going mad. After weeks of people saying ‘you are going to win’, it was a feeling of great relief that I was able to live up the expectations of all those people.”
Joining Tissink and Al-Sultan are both Spec-Savers Ironman South Africa 2005 ladies Champion and World Champion Natascha Badmann. With both champions competing here this year, the profile of the Nelson Mandela Bay Specsavers Ironman South Africa is going to be significantly raised, especially internationally with Super Sport, ESPN and other world media covering this event.
Bigger, better, a thousand fold more muscle.. and, of course, tougher competition than ever before.
This is how the organizers describe the Nelson Mandela Bay Specsavers Ironman Triathlon, that will once again made the city the center, of the world’s attention, on Sunday, 19 March, 2008.
By the end of January, more that 1 100 athletes had already entered, with the World Champion of long distance triathlon, Fanis Al-Sultan, and Ironman South Africa
Winner,, Raynard Tassink, amongst the entrants. In 2007, Tissink, from Nelson Mandela Bay, also took the honours in Ironman Austria, confirming that he can be counted amongst the best in the world.
Before the event, Keith Bowler one of the organizers, predicted that the number of entrants could jump to an astonishing 1 300 after late entries are received. A total of 894 entries were recorded for the 2005 event.
Al-Sultan’s entry is undoubtedly a serious threat to local favourite Tissink. A wonderful prospect for us mere mortals, who prefer to watch and comment while the athletes take the 3,8km swim across the bay, then cycle for 180km, and run a grueling 42,2km marathon.
DETAILED PHOTOS AND TEXT CREDITS: KUPIDO BARRON EDITOR OF UBUNTU MAGAZINE. COMMUNICATIONS DEPT NMB MUNICIPALITY
Port Elizabeth founded the first Cricket Club in South Africa in 1843.
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3 October 2012 7:51