Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Ironman South Africa 2013 Report

I am surprised that this Race is not sold out. I totally recommend this Race. I have done quite a few international Ironman races and Ironman South Africa is well done. The entry fee is cheaper than other Ironman races, its well organised, a very scenic location, convenient for family members, near the airport, plentiful and cheap accommodation near the race start / finish area, clean, large supermarket nearby, very friendly local population, crazy crowd support, incredible Game Reserves nearby, language used is English etc.

The next race is confirmed for 6 April 2014. It is the tenth anniversary and I predict that this race will be sold out.
The Best Travelling Companions
My wife and I travelled with our good friends from the Doha Bay Running Club (Emile and Wendy Fitzmaurice). They are South Africans, so we had no problems. Thank you Emile and Wendy.
Impressions of Port Elizabeth
The Race takes place at the port city of Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape Province. The nicknames it has are "The Friendly City"," The Windy City", "The Adventure Province" etc., all quite true. This was my first visit to Africa, my first visit to a country I despised whilst I was growing up, for its Aparthied practices. I wasn't quite sure what to expect.
Well I was pleasantly surprised.
Port Elizabeth is a beautiful seaside city. It is comparable to Busselton (home of IMWA). Where we stayed (Summerstrand), it was immaculate, clean, had nice accommodation etc. It was more immaculate and cleaner than Malaysia. I could see that the Afrikaans did a great job in developing South Africa. Its like going to Europe / Australia. The local population (whites, coloureds and blacks) were all very friendly, heck I had a wrong impression of this country all my life.
The pre-race formalities were just like at any other Ironman races.
The "Boardwalk". Where Race Registration, EXPO, Pasta Party, Awards Dinner were held. It has a Casino and many other things.
Race registration was a pleasant experience.
The friendly volunteer's name is Scott. The back pack they gave is huge and so practical for us.
Me and Emile getting our bicycles fixed. Services were not free.
The corner unit where we stayed, about 1.6km from race start.
A large Supermarket (Summerstrand Village) was nearby. It also has a café with free wifi.
Visit to ADDO Elephant National Park
A real "Zebra Crossing"
It was an incredible experience to visit a game reserve (ADDO Elephant National Park)
The EXPO is one of the best I have seen. Here we are posing with running legend Zola Budd, she is a lovely person.
Bike check in went smoothly
Everything had to go into the transition bags.
All changing had to be done in the changing tent, not at the bikes.

We had the pleasure of meeting Faris Al Sultan, the World Champion in 2005 and also Ironman Malaysia Champion in 2007.
Unfortunately we left our bags unattended during the Pasta Party and our wallet got stolen. Here we are making a Police Report. I must say I am totally impressed by the South African Police.
Why anyone would want to kill the gallant Policemen is beyond me.
The weather in the morning was perfect unlike the previous year. Lucky us.
Pom Pom Cheerleaders
Out of the water in 1 hour 23 minutes which is a tad slow for me. The water was very choppy but I didn't get sea sick', so the mass swim was quite OK.
Lap 1 (60 km). 2 hours 11 minutes. But could I keep this up?
 Lap 2, waving to my loved ones. 2 hour 11 mins again. Lap 3 was also 2 hours 11 minutes. So it was actually an excellent bike ride for me.
The new "Team Hoyt". They received a lot of love during the race. The standing ovation they received during the Awards Night didn't seem to stop. WELL DONE
The Men's Champion. Ronnie Schildknecht from Switzerland. He has won Ironman Switzerland 6 times including the one in July 2012, that I also finished. He was leading by such a huge margin on the bike, I was wondering what happened to the other Professionals. CONGRATULATIONS
First lap of the run. Slow but OK
2nd lap (14 km per lap). By now I was slower than people that were walking. I have had problematic feet since the year 2000. Even walking day to day is painful for my feet and groin area. I didn't mind. I received a lot of love from all spectators and fellow competitors. The spectators got really close to you. I must have heard the word "MOHAMMED" a hundred times. They did loved me, so who cares my Marathon took 7 hours 41 minutes.

My Finish is on the official video actually. I race in my running club T shirt and finish holding my country's flag.
It was an outstanding Awards Dinner. This time we did not leave our valuables unattended.
Top Ten Female Professionals. The Champion women came back at midnight to run in the last finisher. How sweet.
The Top Ten Men Professionals.
I will definitely return. Inshallah


K3vski said...

Another IM race finish in your cap, sir! Congrats! Sounds like a nice race to do too.

How come the change tent has windows? Are South Africans that open minded? Haha.

Simon said...

Awesome, well done Sofian. You're as inspirational as always.

K3vski said...

Sounds like a really nice race to do, just have to pick the right year i.e. don't race it the same year as Richard Tang haha

Well done on another IM finish to your cap, Sofian! Congrats!

How come the change tent has windows? Are South Africans that open minded? Hehe

sofiantriathlete said...

Correct Kevin.
The key is the weather, unpredictable.

Actually, one of the persons helping me in the change tent was a lady. ha ha

أحمد الحربان said...

Thank yo yo uh Sofian, I was searching for an advice about this race, and your article made my decision!

see you there next year inshallah :)