The Standard Bank Ironman African Championship was off to a spectacular start early on Sunday morning, 7 April, at Nelson Mandela Bay’s Hobie Beach.
The cannon fired at 06:30 am and top pro male athletes took to the water. The swim was shortened 1.6km swim due to rough sea conditions and large swells, and Australian Josh Amberger was the first athlete to exit the water. Tim ‘The Halo man’ Don (UK) was a close second (+00:32), with local hero Kyle Buckingham (+00:41) in third.
Lucy Charles (UK) was the first pro female athlete out of the water after a fast swim. Lauren Brandon was hot on Lucy’s heels (+00:01), followed by Germany’s Anja Ippach. Flying the South African flag in fourth was Annah Watkinson (+06:03).
Pedalling into the lead
Ben Hoffman (US) hit the front of the race at the 51km mark on the cycle leg, followed by Josh Amberger (+00:09), Eneko Lannos (+00:10) and Kyle Buckingham (+00:12). As the wind picked up, German uber biker Andreas Dreitz and compatriot Maurice Clavel (+00:01) took control of the race. However, Hoffman had a storming last section on the bike to enter transition in first, in a time of 04:52:43, followed by Josh Amberger (+1:30).
In the pro women’s race, Lauren Brandon and Anja Ippach overtook defending champion, Lucy Charles-Barclay. Ippach was first off the bike into transition, followed by Brandon and Charles-Barclay.
Running to the win
The men left transition in the same position, with Hoffman stamping his authority on the race to lead the run from start to finish. After leaving transition in second, Amberger gradually slid back, with Nils Frommhold and Michael Weiss moving into the podium positions.
Among the women, Charles-Barclay showed her running prowess to quickly catch and pass Ippach. to take the lead, a position she never relinquished. Annah Watkinson with South Africa’s standout performer, flying the local flag high in third place.
Repeat Ironman winners
Hoffman and Charles-Barclay emerged as winners on the day. This marked Hoffman’s third win, and was a successful defence of the title Charles-Barclay won in 2018.
“After last year I think I came here with a real fire in my belly. I wanted to show that I was back. And of course, you never know with an IRONMAN but I knew I had good preparation. When I came back here, I felt like I was home again,” Hoffman said.
Final pro male results:
- Ben Hoffman 07:34:19
- Nils Frommhold 07:40:12
- Michael Weiss 07:42:35
Final pro female results:
- Lucy Charles-Barclay 08:35:31
- Gurutze Frades 08:40:47
- Annah Watkinson 08:43:18