The 14th annual Standard Bank Ironman South Africa kick-started in the Port Elizabeth dawn on Sunday 2nd of April at 6:00AM, where racers shot off their first-leg 3.8km swim at Hobie Beach.
The swim required the racers to swim along the sea-line past Kings Beach towards the Harbour, further upstream and then back to Hobie Beach again.
The competitors then collected their respective bicycles at the Red Windmall, Hobie Beach parking lot for a gruelling 180-km cycle down Beach Road, up Marine Drive through to Schoenmakerskop and then to Seaview and then all the way back – for two laps.
Ending off on their last leg, racers then endured a 42-km marathon run, which comprised four laps of 10.55km taking place on Beach Road, towards NMMU by University Way, where the runners turned back again to repeat their laps.
American, Ben Hoffman, broke the record for the quickest Ironman time, under the eight-hour landmark – with his finish time of 7:58:40. Breathing down Hoffman’s neck throughout the run, but unable to surpass his resilient time, German, Nils Frommhold came in at second place, just 70 seconds behind Hoffman with a time of 7:59:30.
The first South African to cross the finish line was Port Elizabeth-born, Kyle Buckingham, who came fourth overall with a time of 8:08:58.
The first-placed female, Ryf Daniela from Switzerland came in at 19th overall, with a time of 8:47:02.
One of the race favourites for the 2017 edition, Frederik van Lierde coming from Belgium entered the Ironman with a seemingly mental setback after being attacked during training last week in Victoria Drive, Port Elizabeth by a group of thugs.
Van Lierde won the 2015 Ironman South Africa and won the penultimate World Championship in Hawaii in 2013 and landed the South African shore in 2017 as a prospective hopeful to win the triathlon, but to his standards finished with a disappointing seventh-place finish with a time of 8:19:10.
“Last week’s incident left its marks which I tried to ignore. Back pain and headache obstructed me all day to develop my power. My perseverance brought me to the finish line. Congrats to the champions and all the finishers!” Van Lierde commented in a Facebook statement after the race.
Image: Ironman 2017 winner, Ben Hoffman, moments before he crossed the finish line.
Watch for highlighting snippets of Ironman South Africa 2017