The Standard Bank 70.3 African Ironman Championship event took place in Port Elizabeth on 7 April 2019.
The day was mixed with drama as the swim leg was shortened and saw the tragic death of two swimmers.
Top 15 men finishers:
- Ben HOFFMAN (#2) 07:34:19
- Nils FROMMHOLD (#8) 07:40:12 +05:53
- Michael WEISS (#15) 07:42:35 +08:16
- Eneko LLANOS (#13) 07:44:59 +10:40
- Maurice CLAVEL (#4) 07:45:29 +11:09
- Andreas DREITZ (#14) 07:45:38 +11:19
- Josh AMBERGER (#3) 07:52:19 +18:00
- Matt TRAUTMAN (#9) 07:54:22 +20:03
- Bart AERNOUTS (#5) 07:56:20 +22:01
- Giulio MOLINARI (#17) 08:02:13 +27:54
- David MCNAMEE (#6) 08:04:47 +30:28
- Samuel HUERZELER (#27) 08:08:50 +34:30
- Gustavo RODRÍGUEZ IGLESIAS (#33) 08:10:52 +36:33
- Sebastian NORBERG (#31) 08:11:00 +36:41
- James CUNNAMA (#10) 08:12:26 +38:07
Top Ladies Finishers:
- Lucy Charles-Barclay – 8:35:31
- Gurutze Frades – 8:40:47
- Annah Watkinson – 8:43:18
- Lauren Brandon – 8:53:35
- Anja Ippach – 8:57:10
The swim leg at the event, normally 3.8 km in length had already been shortened to 1.6 km because of extremely choppy conditions when the tragedy struck.
Ironman South Africa released a statement confirming the deaths:
“It is with great sadness that we confirm the death of two race participants at the IRONMAN African Championship.
Both athletes required medical attention during the swim portion of Sunday’s race and were transported to a nearby hospital where they were treated.
Our condolences go out to the family and friends of both athletes, whom we will continue to support.
We are working with the local authorities to gather all details and will continue to do everything possible to provide a safe environment for our athletes. In respect of each family’s privacy, we will have no further comment at this time.”
“What an amazing Family Weekend!”
What Ironman had to say:
The Standard Bank IRONMAN African Championship was off to a spectacular start early on Sunday morning, the 7th of April 2019, at Nelson Mandela Bay’s Hobie Beach. The cannon sounded at 06:30 AM, after which the top PRO male athletes entered the water. The swim covered a distance of 1.6 kilometres at a temperature of 18.5°C. The swim was reduced from 3.8KM to 1.6 kilometres due to the rough sea conditions and large swells.
The first PRO male athlete out of the water was Australian Josh Amberger, who took the lead from the start, clocking his swim at an amazing 24:59 minutes. Tim Don, ‘The Halo man’, came in close second (+00:32). In third place out the water was Kyle Buckingham (+00:41).
Lucy Charles (UK) was the first PRO female athlete out of the water with a stunning swim time of 00:25:20. Lauren Brandon was hot on Lucy’s heels, second out of the water (+00:01), with Anja Ippach from Germany getting out the water 04:14 after Ippach. Flying the South African flag at number four was Annah Watkinson at a time of (+06:03).
Swimming Results for pro male triathletes:
- Josh Amberger – 00:24:59
- Tim Don – 00:25:32
- Kyle Buckingham – 00:25:41
Swimming Results for pro female triathletes:
- Lucy Charles – 00:25:20
- Lauren Brandon – 00:25:28
- Anja Ippach – 00:29:39
At the 51km mark of the cycle, the PRO men looked very comfortable on their bikes and paced themselves through the ups and down of the route. Ben Hoffman had a total race time of 01:38:36 at the 51km mark. Josh Amberger (+00:09), Eneko Lannos (+00:10) and Kyle Buckingham (+00:12) were fighting for to gain a lead on one another.
In the PRO women’s race, Lauren Brandon crossed the 51km mark in first position with a time of 01:48:03, taking the lead from the 2018 Standard Bank IRONMAN Championship winner, Lucy Charles-Barclay, who followed in second position (+00:02) and Anja Ippach attaining a time of 01:50:52.
The wind started picking up, pushing against the PRO men who were coming back from their first loop. At the 118km mark, Ben Hoffman slipped down to third position after being overtaken by German uber biker, Andreas Dreitz – who had a cycle time of 03:19:33, who was closely followed by fellow countryman, Maurice Clavel (+00:01.)
Anja Ippach took the opportunity to overtake Charles-Barclay between 90km and 118km on the cycle and was seen to come in first position at the 118km mark on the bike with a time of 03:42:12. In second position was Lauren Brandon (+00:24) and Lucy Charles Barclay dropping to third (+00:59).
The top 3 male PRO athletes who passed the 141KM mark were: Andreas Dreitz 03:48:22, Maurice Clavel +00:01 and Josh Amberger +00:03.
Top female PRO athletes passed the 141km mark in the following positions: Anja Ippach, with a time of 04:14:16, followed by Lucy Charles-Barclay, who was now pushing to close the gap (+01:46), and right behind her in third position was Lauren Brandon (+01:48).
The top 3 PRO men bike results were close, with Ben Hoffman known as “The Hoff”, coming in with an absolutely amazing time of 04:52:43, followed by Josh Amberger, with a time difference of 01:30, Representing Germany, in third place, was Nils Frommhold – who was behind Amberger by just one second.
Cycling Results for pro male triathletes:
- Ben Hoffman 04:52:43
- Josh Amberger 04:54:13
- Nils Frommhold 04:54:14
Cycling Results for pro female triathletes:
- Anja Ippach 05:30:00
- Lauren Brandon 05:33:15
- Lucy Charles-Barclay 05:33:21
The PRO men’s transition from cycling to running went smoothly, with Ben Hoffman retaining his first position and pacing himself quite well in the first 21.1 KM. Amberger followed Hoffman in second position, although he gradually slid back after the 2.9 KM mark. Frommhold held on to second place from 5km to 21.7KM. Ben Hoffman (06:13:32) at 21.7km was leading, as his fellow athletes, Frommhold and Dreitz, followed with a time difference of +02:03 and +03:32.
10.6km into the run saw the PRO female athletes run against each other, fighting for first position. Ippach was leading, with Charles-Barclay tailing her closely. Charles-Barclay then took it up a notch by taking the lead heading up to the 13.1KM mark point and opening her lead as the race went on.
It would be Ben Hoffman’s day as he took the 2019 Standard Bank IRONMAN African Championship for the third time (2016, 2017 & 2019) in the time off 07:34:19. Frommhold started the run course in 4th position and showed his running prowess by finishing 2nd. Michael Weiss had to work his way for his podium finish after starting the run leg in 6th position.
“After last year I think I came here with a real fire in my belly. I wanted to show that I was back. And of course, you never know with an IRONMAN but I knew I had good preparation. When I came back here, I felt like I was home again,” Hoffman said.
In second place was German Nils Frommhold, with a fantastic total time of 07:40:12, who held it strong in the second position from the 5.7 KM mark up until the finish line. Regarding the race itself, he had this to say:
“It was really tough, and the wind was unbelievable… and yet I had a really good day. I’m double happy that I have the qualification [for Kona] and [that] I have the second place.”
Coming in third in the 2019 Standard Bank IRONMAN Africa Championship with a total time of 07:42:35 was Austrian Michael Weiss, who was made to dig deep and fight for his podium finish.
“I’m very happy with my third place. It was a very rough day, with a short swim, due to the conditions and then the wind picked up in the second leg on the bike. You cannot forget, this course has a lot of elevation gain. The run towards the university was always with headwinds and then you had tailwinds, but the spectators cheered you on, the volunteers were amazing so, it was just unbelievable.” – Michael Weiss
In the women’s race, the 2019 Standard Bank IRONMAN African Championship went to Britain’s Lucy Charles-Barclay, with a total time of 08:35:31. In second place was Frades, with a time of 08:40:47. She had the fastest run in the PRO women’s group.
Doing South Africa proud in third place was Annah Watkinson, attaining a time of 08:43:18 whose race strategy seemed to have gone to plan, “So we had a strategy, my coach and I. On the bike, I broke the distance down into 60km intervals, and I kind of stuck with that. When I got into the run, I just eased into it. I can’t believe it’s happening.”
Final Results for pro male triathletes:
- Ben Hoffman 07:34:19
- Nils Frommhold 07:40:12
- Michael Weiss 07:42:35
Final Results for pro female triathletes:
- Lucy Charles-Barclay 08:35:31
- Gurutze Frades 08:40:47
- Annah Watkinson 08:43:18
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