THE Nelson Mandela Bay is less than 150 days away from yet another historic weekend of action ahead of the 14th edition of the annual Standard Bank IRONMAN African Championship that will take place at Hobie Beach on April, 15, next year.
A total of 2 200 anticipated athletes and their loved ones are set to descend on the city, each bringing an average of 3.5 people with them for a total of 7 000 people.
Nelson Mandela Bay is excited to host the 2018 Standard Bank IRONMAN African Championship together with over 2 000 volunteers. All will be hard at work in making sure the athletes get the best out of the race.
As the athletes need to acclimatise and train on the race route, they are expected to arrive in the city from the Monday prior to the race and depart the Monday post-race. The foreign athletes traditionally stay the following week to tour the city and visit the many tourist attractions that the Eastern Cape has to offer.
Entries for both events are now open with limited entries available.
Spur IRONKIDS has become a key feature in the IRONMAN weekend, bringing the family element to it. It is terrific to see so many kids getting outside and participating in a healthy activity, and doing so joyfully. Hopefully this inspires the kids to adopt a healthy, active lifestyle from a young age and maybe even go on to one day emulate their IRONMAN heroes in years to come,” said Keith Bowler, IRONMAN South Africa’s managing director.
More than just the athletes, the spectators are also itching to get the event started. “I have watched the IRONMAN event for a couple of years now and it never fails to live up to the hype. Each year I stay up until midnight to welcome the last bunch of athletes home,” said Grant Miskin (23), a local resident.
It is one of the toughest races in the world, and one of the key aspects that bring athletes home are its supporters coming in drones throughout the day.
The race begins with an early morning fresh 3,8km sea swim with the water temperature averaging 20.9°C.
Athletes then head straight onto the bike as they go onto two flat fast laps of 90km on one of the most breathtaking bike courses on the IRONMAN circuit.
Last, they take on a full marathon that brings them closer to their fans and friends pushing them to end on a high.
The event acts as a perfect taster of the much anticipated IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship, which is set to take Nelson Mandela Bay by storm next year on September 1 and 2.
It is the first time an IRONMAN World Championship event will be held in the African continent.
To stay up to date with all the latest news, race schedules and race updates, participants and spectators are encouraged to download the IRONMAN South Africa Appfor free on Android and iOS.