Swim. Bike. Run. The 2018 IRONMAN African Championship is HERE!

  • 11 April 2018 | By Anje Rautenbach

The athletes have arrived, their bodies are in tip-top shape, their minds are tuned in, the weather is looking cloudy with a bit of wind from the East and Nelson Mandela Bay is ready, set, go!

Nelson Mandela Bay is the proud host city of the Standard Bank IRONMAN African Championships and this year, the Bay is also extremely proud to host the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship in September 2018 where 4500 athletes are expected to qualify from over 104 races around the world.

Two big events and one city; a whole lot of Bay, a whole lot of endurance and determination, a whole lot of iron.

The founder of IRONMAN, John Collins, said "Swim 2.4 Miles (3.8km). Bike 112 miles (90km). Run 26.2 (42.3km). Brag for the rest of your life.”

And suffice to say, when you do something as intense as this triathlon, there’s no need for a humble brag, you may gloat, shout it from the rooftops and walk around with your IRONMAN medal for as long as you see fit.


Fun facts about IRONMAN in the Bay

Did you know that Port Elizabeth (Nelson Mandela Bay) is the only city in Africa to host a full distance IRONMAN race?

Did you know that about 2000 athletes entered to race this event in 2017?

Did you know that that the run course in the Bay has been voted as the best in the world?

Did you know that that the Bay’s overall race venue has been voted the second best in the world?

Did you know that the Bay has the best spectator course?

Did you know that the race features nearly 40% international athletes?

Did you know that this is an open race and any athlete may enter? (What’s your 2019 looking like…).


Swim. Bike. Run.

The IRONMAN African Championship day begins with a one-lap, 3.8km swim course starting at 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 cut-off for the swim is 2 hours 20 minutes.

Then it’s on to the bikes. This course will take IRONMAN competitors onto two flat, fast laps of 90km each along the coast at Marine Drive with spectacular views of our coastline with the smell of Fynbos right under their noses before they go slightly inland at Seaview on an undulating scenic countryside section.

Athletes continue their two-wheeled journey and end along the coast to start the run that will bring them closer to their friends, families and fans as they run 4 x 10.55km laps on a fast, flat run route along the beachfront.

To receive an IRONMAN medal, athletes have to finish within 16 hours and 45 minutes (which changed from last year's 17 hours because of the rolling swim start).


Where to watch?

Hobie beach (athletes will pass this start and finish area numerous times).

Travel down Seaview Road from the suburb of Colleen Glen towards Seaview. Parking in the vicinity of Seaview Spar.

Another spectator hotspot is available on the corner of Link Road and Seaview Road.

There’s also an IRONMAN expo at the Boardwalk where you can have a peek at all the latest triathlon tips, gear and gadgets.

Spectators can also look forward to entertainment with cheerleaders, lots of giveaways and more!

SuperSport will go live at 06:00 in the morning on Sunday and will continue to broadcast the events of the day until midnight. 


Spur IRONKIDS and Isuzu Corporate Triathlon Challenge

The day before the IRONMAN African Championship will also be filled with fun and sweat as the world's biggest children's aquathlon - Spur IRONKIDS (sponsored by Pritt) and the ISUZU Corporate Triathlon Challenge (powered by Algoa FM) is taking place on Saturday 14 April 2018. 

On Saturday children between the ages of 6 and 13 will do a 100 metre swim and a 1.2 km run starting at McArthur's Pool and Leisure Centre and finishing at Hobie Beach. With IRONKIDS it is all about participation and it is encouraging children to enjoy a healthy, active lifestyle (no times are taken). Special needs participants' race will start at 12:10 (pool opens 11:45), the race for ages 6-8 years will start at 13:00 (pool opens 12:30), the race for ages 9-11 years will start at 14:00 (pool opens 13:30) and the race for ages 12-13 years will start at 15:00 (pool opens 14:30).

The ISUZU Corporate Triathlon Challenge (CTC) powered by Algoa FM is 10% of the full IRONMAN distance; 380m sea swim, 18 km bike and a 4.2 km beachfront run (in other words: if you are doing this with your colleagues you would get official bragging rights in the office). Go show your support!


Take note of the following road closure

Please be patient and take note of the following road closures. You might have to find alternative parking spaces and walk a bit further to your final destination, but rest assured, you don’t have to walk 42.2 km… (or cycle 180km or swim 3.8km). You’ll be fine.

Saturday, 14 April: 
Full road closure on Marine Drive from Driftsands Drive to Noordhoek from 07h00-11h00.

Sunday 15 April:
Full road closure
from Saturday 18h00 to Sunday midnight on 2nd Avenue from Brighton Drive to Marine Drive.

Full road closure from 05:00 to midnight: on Marine Drive from Lodge Road to Summerstrand Hotel. 2nd Avenue from Brighton Drive to Marine Drive and Admiralty Way from Marine Drive to University Way (There will be a controlled cross-over point at Brighton Drive / Admiralty Crescent).

Partial road closure from 05h00 to Midnight: Marine Drive from Walmer Boulevard to La Roche Drive. Marine Drive from La Roche Drive to Lodge Road.

Full road closure from 05h00 to 17h00: Marine Drive from Summerstrand Hotel to Schoenmakerskop. Sardinia Bay Road. Heron Road. Seaview Road from Heron Road to Van Reenen Road. Victoria Drive from Schoenmakerskop to Glendore Road intersection. Elizabeth Road/M9/Beachview Divisional Road from Seaview Road to Beachview Drive, Beachview, Maitlands area. From 17h00 access into Summerstrand/City will be via the NMU back gate).

There will be access (radio controlled) to the following places during road closures: Pine Lodge, only via the NMU back gate on Marine Drive. Sardinia Bay Golf Estate from Seaview/Heron Road intersection.

Recover from the race        

Radisson Blu’s Amani Spa offers a Sports Recovery Massage or a Deep Tissue Massage at R590 per person (offers valid until the 1st of May 2018).

IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship in September

Are you visiting the Bay for the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship in the beginning of September? Have a look at the accommodation on offer and also look into the numerous activities and tours available in the Bay.

A Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism Pass will give IRONMAN athletes and their families more bang for their buck while training, racing and visiting the Bay.

Kyle Buckingham, tri athlete and double Ironman Champion, hails from the Bay and says: With my hometown playing host to the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in 2018 it’s a great opportunity to show my colleagues how spoilt I am when it comes to training and general lifestyle here. When international athletes visit, I always try meet up with them and give them a few pointers. Our beaches are stunning and the water is warm. There's a great selection of restaurants and food markets to choose from when dining out."

You + IRONMAN = The perfect match in 2019?

Do you think you got what it takes? Have a look at the IRONMAN website for reading material, a support network, coaches and more.

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