On Sunday 25th January 2015’s 8th edition of Ironman 70.3 South Africa, a relatively new Nelson Mandela Bay based Vukani Multi-Sport Club (MSC) did what many had not thought possible by finishing 1st and 4th in a show of dominance and ability in East London.
Vukani MSC was formed only in 2012 by a group of friends, a couple of runners, cyclist – all relatively new entrants to Triathlon.
Thembile Nxele is a key member of the overall winning team. Nxele is an experience d cyclist who placed in the top 20 of the Herald VW Cycle Tour in 2014. “We came into this race with a mission to win, or at best claim a podium position. Our strategy was simple, to go out there and dominate” said an elated Nxele. Push and dominate they did. Leading the swim was young Luvuyo Nondzinyana of kwaZakhele with a blistering 1.9km sea swim in 28min.
Luvuyo, a budding Lifeguard and temporary worker/volunteer at the Zwide swimming pool, is notoriously known for swimming the sea without goggles. Following the lighting fast swim was an equally hard push on the bike by the man known as “terror” unleashing terror all the way.
The 90.1km bike route is the second most difficult course in all of Ironman 70.3 events (when comparing finisher times). Two hours and forty two minutes later victory seemed certain. With no other team in front, Terror had created enough of a buffer for Lebo Senti, the fast runner from Zwide to put the final nail on the coffin. Lebo ran the 21.1km windy run in one hour twenty seven minutes to take gold, the first ever by a fully African team in the history of Ironman 70.3 South Africa.
“What is truly inspiring for us is that we do this out of passion, we have no big backers or development budgets. Isuzu kindly donates to us a number of entry slots, which we appreciate. The hard part is the costs associated with the sport. Expensive bikes, gear, travel and so on. So we club together, chip in and make it possible” says Vukani MSC president Wonga Mfula.
“We are also grateful to partners Nutritech South Africa as well as ECULine for the trademark Vukani kit”. In order to defend their Ironman 70.3 SA Team Championship, the club will have to seek funding and support to make this possible. For now, Vukani will celebrate the win. The club has also been lucky to be allocated 20 racing slots at this weekend’s Herald VW Cycle Tour. Will they carry the Iron magic into this road race? We’ll find out on Sunday 1st February.