The Iron Man of South Africa

The Spec-Savers IRONMAN Triathlon took place at Hobie Beach in Port Elizabeth, South Africa on Sunday, 18th March 2007. The starting time for this annual event was at 7:00AM with the closing time being Midnight, a good seventeen hours worth of play.

The Triathlon consists of a 3,8km Swim, a 180km Cycle and a 42,2km Run before participants can consider themselves finished. The swim took place in the sea but more specifically in the bay, which makes a big difference in the conditions that would have been experienced if it were out in the open sea. The1.9km long route was rectangular in shape, which meant that contestants would have to complete the course twice before they could move on to the next event. The cut-off time for the swim was approximately two hours and twenty minutes long, which meant that participants would need to be finished by 09:20am at latest.

Once the swimmers had completed this round they moved onto the transition area that could be found at Hobie Beach, by the Pier at the Shark Rock parking lot. From there the participants will mount their bikes and will head toward the city center, turning up at Walmer Boulevard. Up until the 40km mark riders had a few hills and down hills that they encountered but from there the ride is fairly flat all the way back to the transition point at Hobie Beach. At this stage riders will find water stations every 20km where they can refill their water bottles as well as eating a few energy-producing foods like energy bars and bananas. The cut-off point for this stage of the race will be at 5:30pm, about eight hours ten after the last cut-off time at 09:20am.

From there the runners will now take on the 42.2km run, which is in fact a 14.07 loop that participants will go around three times before they have finally completed the IRONMAN Triathlon. The route for the run is along the beachfront out toward the University and is altogether a flat but fast route with water stations every two kilometers where participants will be able to get a drink and nibbles on potato pieces, bananas and energy bars. The finish is again at Hobie beach with the cut-off time being 12 Midnight.

The winner of the Spec-Savers IRONMAN 2007 was, for the second time running, Belgian Gerardus Schellens who finished in 8:33:04, passing Raynard Tissink, a local hero, who finished a few minutes later with a time of 8:36:06. On the women’s side it was Swiss Natascha Badmann who was a clear winner right from the beginning making it her third win at the Port Elizabeth IRONMAN with a time of 9:22:00. The second woman to cross the finish line was Italy’s Edith Niederfriniger with an overall time of 9:47:01.