The 2013 Spec-Savers IRONMAN South Africa Media Launch took place on 27 March at The Boardwalk Action Bar, officially opening the ninth edition of the event to be held in Nelson Mandela Bay on Sunday 14 April 2013.
This launch served as the introduction of the complete IRONMAN weekend – involving four events over the course of three days – with a total of nearly 6000 athletes participating. The weekend begins with the third IRON GIRL South Africa ladies’ Fun Run on Friday 12 April 2013, followed by the sold-out Vodacom Corporate Triathlon Challenge powered by Algoa FM and Pritt IRONKIDS South Africa, both on Saturday 13 April. These events are the foretaste; creating the build-up to the real highlight and main event of the race weekend – the Spec-Savers IRONMAN South Africa on Sunday 14 April.
Speaking on behalf of Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality was Councillor Babalwa Lobishe, Chairperson for Sports Recreation and Cultural Services. “As the municipality, we will be hosting the event for the ninth time this year and I am proud to say we haven’t been getting any complaints about the organising of the event”, Cllr Lobishe said. “Instead, we have been getting coverage across the country and internationally for having such a huge event which also benefits the city economically.”
Cllr Lobishe assured those present that this year, safety and the success of the event are key. “We will make sure that all of our traffic officers are at work to make sure that the influx that comes into the city is quite controlled and as well as all the safety measures are adhered to”, said Cllr Lobishe.
This year, an impressive 1782 registered athletes from 50 different nations will unite in Nelson Mandela Bay, the IRONMAN City of Africa. A field of 48 registered PRO athletes from across the globe will be aiming for a podium finish, while last year’s defending champions will not be racing.
An exciting addition to the Spec-Savers IRONMAN South Africa line-up is former IRONMAN World Championship winner, Faris Al-Sultan (GER), who will be back to race in South Africa for the first time since 2006. Al-Sultan who won IRONMAN Austria and placed fifth at the IRONMAN World Championship in Hawaii, both in 2012, will be one to watch on Race Day.
Other top male PROs to note are Cyril Viennot (FRA) and Mike Aigroz (SUI) who placed second and third respectively at the 2012 Spec-Savers IRONMAN South Africa. South Africa’s hopes will be on James Cunnama, making his return to IRONMAN South Africa, after winning the Challenge Roth in 2012. Ronnie Schildknecht (SUI) will be racing his debut Spec-Savers IRONMAN South Africa having dominated in the Spec-Savers IRONMAN 70.3 South Africa field for the past two years.
The prospective leading female PROs this year include Switzerland’s Simone Brändli, who came second at last year’s event, as well as South Africa’s Diane McEwan, who placed fourth. Returning to the starting line is 2009 champion Lucie Reed (Zelenkova), who for the past two years shifted her focus to the Spec-Savers IRONMAN 70.3 South Africa, where she has consistently placed on the podium. All eyes will be on former IRONMAN 70.3 World Champion, Great Britain’s Jodie Swallow in her maiden full-distance IRONMAN race. Swallow has taken victory in the past three Spec-Savers IRONMAN 70.3 South Africa events.
This year sees yet another increase in international participation with a total of 426 registered international athletes taking part, demonstrating the ever-increasing global status of the Spec-Savers IRONMAN South Africa.
“We are looking forward to another fantastic line-up at our 2013 Race Weekend”, says Keith Bowler, Managing Director of World Endurance South Africa. As the final countdown continues, Nelson Mandela Bay is already coming alive in anticipation of IRONMAN, along with expectations for another memorable Race Weekend.