Registrations continue to fly in for the 2021 IRONMAN 70.3 South Africa after entries opened a month ago.

Athletes are hoping to start the year off strongly with the Biogen-fuelled event scheduled to take place on Sunday, 24 January 2021 in Buffalo City.

READ MORE: IRONMAN releases Safe Return to Racing event guidelines

Should lockdown regulations permit, it will be the 14th consecutive year the event takes place along this iconic 70.3 route, showing just how legendary this race has become on the South African triathlon calendar.

Anything is possible

IRONMAN athletes are constantly proving that ‘anything is possible’ and 2021 will be no different as the triathlon community gets back to what they love doing – racing.

READ MORE: Unbreakable: The indomitable spirit of Ironman Alwyn Uys

One of the first athletes to register was Rudi Craps (34), from Gauteng. He is excited at the prospect of travelling down to Buffalo City for a swim, bike, run event before walking down the aisle two weeks later.

“The best year in my life so far has to be 2019, when I raced all three IRONMAN South Africa events for the South African Tour Series medal (IRONMAN 70.3 South Africa, IRONMAN African Championship and IRONMAN 70.3 Durban). I decided that I will continue racing all these events as long as I can, maybe even branch out a bit and race some IRONMAN events abroad. The thing that makes 2021 even more special is that the event will be two weeks before I get married, I cannot think of a better way to start a year,” said Craps.

Iconic East London

The IRONMAN 70.3 South Africa is an athlete favourite event and has been for many years. The beautiful coastal city of East London offers miles of beachfront and rich cultural history for athletes and spectators to enjoy.

READ MORE: IRONMAN African Championship ranked as top global race by participants

The IRONMAN 70.3 South Africa started in 2007 and quickly caught the eye of many triathletes including age-groupers like Craps.

“I started off with triathlon after attempting each discipline individually, this was due to a doctor telling me I was obese. I then decided to buy a secondhand bike as well as a cheap pair of running shoes.”

READ MORE: Coach’s corner: The beginner’s guide to becoming a triathlete

He subsequently finished his first triathlon event, the 5150 Bela Bela, in 2016. “I enjoyed it and decided to take on some longer distances. I then decided to get a coach ahead of the 2019 IRONMAN 70.3 South Africa. This is when I realised the potential in myself as well as the benefits of training in a club and being accountable to a coach.

Craps also finished the 2019 IRONMAN African Championship in Nelson Mandela Bay that year and the 2019 IRONMAN 70.3 Durban.

Life-changing experience

“I can honestly say that my life has never been the same since I started the sport of triathlon and I will never go back to where I came from.”

READ MORE: Fuel your Ironman 70.3 like James Cunnama

Craps continues, “Never let anyone tell you that you are not capable of doing something. Every single person has the potential to be great, it just takes the initial decision and the new love-of-self to achieve the formerly unachievable. When it gets difficult to keep going, I look at my old photos. And think about how I kept making excuses as to why I could not do sports or how asthma was the reason for my weight. Then I follow it up with some positivity in how far I have come, how much I have achieved, and just generally loving the ‘new’ me.”