Photo by FinisherPix.com/Ironman.com
A preview of the professional line-up for this Sunday’s race in Nelson Mandela Bay.
IRONMAN South Africa’s ninth edition is set for this Sunday, and triathlon fans will be expecting quick times. The course has attracted its fair share of record breakers: In 2011, Chrissie Wellington set the world-best IRONMAN time here, clocking an 8:33:56. She finished in eighth place overall, nearly 35 minutes ahead of runner-up Rachel Joyce, who in turn broke the previous course record by eight minutes. (Wellington set new female bike and run and course records, and her 2:52:54 marathon
was also faster than all of the men.) Last year, Natascha Badmann became the oldest person to win an IRONMAN at this race – she was 45 at the time and turned 46 last December.
Great Britain’s Jodie Swallow is expected to be a favorite in the women’s field. The 2010 IRONMAN 70.3 world champion and 2009 ITU long course world champion has been dealing with injuries for a few years, however. New Zealand’s Michelle Bremer who came sixth at last year’s IRONMAN New York and won IRONMAN Western Australia in 2011 is another woman to watch. 2012 IRONMAN Lake Placid champion Jessie Donavan (USA) is an additional pick, as is her countrywoman, two-time IRONMAN
champion Dede Griesbauer.
On the men’s side, 2005 IRONMAN world champion Faris Al-Sultan is beginning his season build. The German’s fifth-place showing at the IRONMAN World Championship last year was his best performance there in years. South Africa is his only planned IRONMAN of the year, so expect him to be sharp. James Cunnama was third at his home country race in 2011 and last year clocked an impressive 7:59:59 time at the same distance elsewhere. Seven-time IRONMAN winner Ronnie Schildknecht (SUI) will
undoubtedly throw experience into the mix as well.
Visit Ironman.com this Saturday, beginning at 1 a.m. EST, for text and video coverage and live athlete tracking.
Article source: http://www.xtri.com/features/detail/284-itemId.511715508.html