The Spec-Savers IRONMAN South Africa 2013 PRO Post-Race press conference was held at the Beach Hotel on Monday 15 April in Port Elizabeth. The top four male PRO and top five female PRO athletes shared their impressions and experiences of the race.
This year’s edition of the Spec-Savers IRONMAN South Africa had a total highest-ever 1786 registered athletes. Of the 1622 starters, 1542 finished the race.
Jessie Donavan (USA) took first place in the female PRO race. Donavan recounted how she kept on looking to see how far Jodie Swallow was behind her. “I didn’t believe it until I was done”, said Donavan. The volunteers were amazing; we couldn’t have done it without them.”
Swiss six-time IRONMAN Switzerland Ronnie Schildknecht was the male PRO winner. “I knew from the start I had a good day. At 21km I felt great; the last 40km, I didn’t realise I was that fast. I really had one of the best days in my career. The spectators were crazy; never before [have I] seen something so special. I got energized from their enthusiasm.”
Jodie Swallow (GBR), who admits that she has never run a marathon, maintained a strong lead throughout most of the race, finishing with an impressive second place. “I ran very well until I hit the 23km mark because that is my territory; I’m an IRONMAN half-distance champion”, said Swallow.
Swallow also admits that she has a goal to work towards for the next IRONMAN race.
Cyril Viennot of (FRA) placed second for the second consecutive time. In the light of Schildknecht’s big lead off the bike, Viennot admits that second place was a reachable goal. “Ronnie is a good runner – it was impossible.”
The third female PRO to cross the finish line was 2009 champion Czech Lucie Reed, who raced in memory of her late brother-in-law. “My race didn’t go as I wanted it to, but if anything, [what] I learned from this race is [to] never give up”, she said.
Bas Diederen (NED) placed as the third male, after his second-place podium finish at IRONMAN Mexico (2012). Despite being classified as a “rather big fellow” by announcer Paul Kaye, Diederen raced well, stating: “I can’t run, but I move fast”.
Placing fourth were Simone Braendli (SUI) and Horst Reichel (GER), who are both familiar faces on the IRONMAN podium. They were followed by South Africa’s Dianne McEwan, Frenchman François Chabaud, who placed fifth respectively.
With an impressive combined set of results, the PROs were strong at this year’s race and next year’s 10th anniversary of IRONMAN South Africa is set to be even bigger and better.