Hot race conditions greeted almost 1,400 athletes for the 2019 Standard Bank 5150 Bela Bela – the 9th edition of the iconic race. H.J. Cronje and Tracy Dennis emerged victorious, winning the men’s and women’s races respectively.
Warmbaths, A Forever Resort provided a picturesque backdrop for 1,357 athletes from South Africa, representing nine provinces with 79% of the field from Gauteng, and 12 countries excluding South Africa, with the United Kingdom boasting the most athletes, followed by Botswana.
With the water at 18°C, the ambient temperature reaching 27°C and a strong field, the racing was tough. Athletes competing in the Olympic distance completed a 1.5km swim in the ski dam on the resort, a 40km bike leg on a hilly course and a 10km run in the resort. The event also hosted a FUNTRI distance which consisted of a 400m swim, a 20km bike and a 5km run.
“I just used this race as training for the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship [happening in France, Nice] which is coming up in two weeks. This is such an awesome sport, it’s such an amazing feeling completing the [Standard Bank] 5150 Bela Bela,” said age-group athlete, H.J. Cronje, after crossing the finish line.
Triathlon series underway
The race also marked the start of the Standard Bank 5150 African Triathlon Series. The second event takes place on Sunday, 20 October 2019 in Ekurhuleni, followed by the Nelson Mandela Bay event.