Nelson Mandela Bay will once again this year be transformed into a sea of blue as Standard Bank IRONMAN African Championship 2018 returns on Sunday, 15 April 2018. Last year, this African Championship contributed nearly R84-million in tourism revenue alone to the City of Port Elizabeth and a wider impact on the Eastern Cape region.
This IRONMAN event – the favourite on the European race circuit for over a decade – offers 80 qualifying slots for the 2018 IRONMAN World Championship in Kailua-Kona, HI and 50 qualifying slots for South Africans ONLY to the 2018 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship in Nelson Mandela Bay.
Standard Bank customers, athletes and fans can this year look forward to some new and exciting initiatives taking place in the lead up to the Race Day. The journey of the Pre-Race Day activities started on arrival at the Airport to the Expo taking place in Boardwalk from Wednesday to Saturday. Fans and Standard Bank customers are able to upload messages photos and/or videos of support for the athletes at the Trilove digital stand using #NEVERSTOP #SBIronman.
Customers and fans are encouraged to interact by tweeting and taking pictures using the official hashtags and these messages are uploaded instantly on Standard Bank social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Jenny Lyn Pheiffer: Executive Head. Brand Sponsorship and Events at Standard Bank says: “As Standard Bank, we understand that being an IRONMAN matters to so many and that this weekend is about conquering every athlete’s personal barriers and beating their personal best. The Standard Bank Trilove digital platform will allow families and friends to send messages of support to keep their athletes on the course and encourage them to NEVER STOP MOVING FORWARD.
“In addition, because the athletes’ families and friends are as important to us as they are to them, we have created Standard Bank Chill Zones for fans to relax and enjoy the race.”
As part of the incentives, there are spot prizes such as Standard Bank TriLove branded caps for fans that post messages encouraging the athletes throughout the race period at the various Standard Bank areas.
On race days, the major attraction on route will be the Standard Bank Aid Station designed to make spectating that much more interactive and enjoyable with the following:
- Wi-Fi, Live Broadcast, Good music, Big screens, Comfortable Chill Zones.
- For families and Standard Bank customers, there will be a separate Family Zone with free Wi-Fi situated at the front of the Boardwalk area with Live Broadcast of the race on Big Screens and Comfortable Seating.
“Furthermore, each year there is an opportunity for us to raise money for charities. As Standard Bank, we have committed to continue supporting the IRONMAN 4 the Kidz Charity that seeks to raise funds and awareness for the plight of less fortunate children,” adds Pheiffer. The idea behind this charity began over a decade ago when the founders realised that they could raise money for needy children by participating in the first full IRONMAN South Africa in 2005, this included the following:
- 3.8 Km Sea Swim
- 180 Km Bike
- 42.2 Km Run
This year is no different, fans will yet again be able to follow the athletes LIVE and race alongside them physically and through the SuperSport live broadcast – bringing all the action, emotion and energy to an even broader audience of athletes. This will enable every fan in South Africa to follow the athletes’ every move as they Swim, Bike and Run their way to achieving a truly remarkable goal.
“We are re-affirming our commitment to IRONMAN because it exemplifies all the qualities that Standard Bank stands for: hard work, dedication, endurance and commitment. IRONMAN offers Standard Bank a single-entry point into all three sporting codes. This year, the race is sold out with 2150 athletes entered. This is testament to how highly regarded the event is amongst athletes.”
The event has – over the years – managed to clinch some of most prestigious global accolades as voted by athletes:
- 2016 ‘Best Run Course’;
- 2017, 2nd in ‘Best Swim Course’;
- 3rd in Best Bike and 9th in Best Race venue overall (out of 75)
Pheiffer emphasizes how sponsorships such as IRONMAN are platforms for the bank to not only bring the African story to life, but also to create opportunities to engage and connect with communities on issues that are crucial to all. Standard Bank’s support of the athletes and this race is not about accolades, it is about the people.
“Although in partnership with IRONMAN South Africa, we always commit to create the very best sporting event possible, this would not be possible without the athletes, their families, loyal fans, the 2000 enthusiastic and dedicated volunteers as well as our hosts: The Nelson Mandela bay municipality and its community,” concludes Pheiffer.
Additional Information about the Race
The day of the Race begins with a one-lap, 3.8km swim course beginning on Hobie Beach. Athletes head out parallel from the pier and turning left after 300 meters.
The course then goes past Humewood Beach all the way to Kings Beach before turning and heading back towards Hobie Beach. The water temperature is usually in the mid-70s and the seas is often calm.
The bike course takes athletes out on two flat, fast laps of 90 km on one of the most spectacular bike courses on the IRONMAN circuit. The route takes athletes along the coast at Marine Drive, delivering sweeping views of the ocean and the rugged coastline along a marine protected area, before moving slightly inland at Seaview on an undulating scenic countryside section. Athletes return along the coast to the transition area to start the run.
The run course brings athletes closer to their fans and friends than ever, thanks to four loops along Marine Drive and the event’s famous crowds of more than 80 000 cheering and appreciative spectators.