Just when you think you're tough enough


Van Lierde and Swallow wins at Standard Bank Ironman African Championships

Ironman African Championships

After leading the swim, an uncharacteristically circumspect display on the bike and a measured run saw Brit, Jodie Swallow, achieve an emotional victory at the Standard Bank IRONMAN African Championship. Earlier, Belgium’s Frederik Van Lierde put in a display which underlined his championship credentials as he slipped through the gears to get stronger as his race wore on, taking the title of IRONMAN African Champion in a world-class field.

Women’s Race

Setting the tone for the rest of the race, Swallow quickly caught up to the back end of the men’s field. She completed the swim with a time of 00:50:16. Denmark’s Camilla Pedersen, and Czech, Lucie Reed, following a further two seconds back.

Taking her early lead into the bike, it was expected that Swallow would push hard in an attempt to put daylight between herself and the chasers. However, Pedersen stayed within distance and made up time  Eva Wutti sat comfortably in third position for the majority of the first lap, but was overtaken by German, Diana Riesler as they neared the 90km mark. Swallow pulled away slightly and was able to take a two minute lead into T2. Pedersen and Riesler followed in second and third respectively.

JodieSwallow Ironman African Champion

Swallow continued to look strong and started stretching her lead. While Pedersen held her own in the first lap, she was later overtaken by both Lucy Gossage and Susie Cheetham, who moved into second and third place.

Gossage though, could not repeat her feat of a year ago as Swallow comfortably held out to cross the finish line in 09:26:56 to claim probably the most significant IRONMAN win of her career to date. Gossage finished six minutes later in second with Cheetham a further 2 minutes back.

When asked on her thoughts on the race, an exhausted Swallow exclaimed, “[I am] very satisfied with my victory, but my body is completely numb now. It [definitely] feels as if I have just completed an IRONMAN.”

Top 10 professional women’s results:

Swim               Bike                 Run                  Finish

1          Jodie Ann SWALLOW    GBR     00:50:16            05:20:58            03:10:56            09:26:56

2          Lucy GOSSAGE            GBR     00:59:34            05:20:11            03:06:03            09:31:20

3          Susie CHEETHAM         GBR     00:57:51            05:25:53            03:03:38            09:33:02

4          Camilla PEDERSEN      DEN     00:52:43            05:20:07            03:17:23            09:35:25

5          Diana RIESLER             DEU     00:58:01            05:16:00            03:18:57            09:38:16

6          Eva WUTTI                    AUT      00:59:22            05:20:43            03:15:23            09:40:22

7          Britta MARTIN               NZL      00:59:04            05:31:13            03:09:46            09:45:33

8          Astrid GANZOW            DEU     01:01:25            05:25:42            03:18:03            09:50:29

9          Caitlin SNOW                USA     00:59:42            05:36:49            03:12:39            09:55:03

10         Sonja TAJSICH             RSA     01:03:08            05:27:19            03:25:52            10:01:37

 Frederik Van Lierde Ironman African Champion

Men’s Race

It was Frenchman, Sylvain Sudrie who made the early yards on the swim with Johann Ackermann of Germany leading the group. South Africa’s Kyle Buckingham kept pace with the leaders with Frederik Van Lierde on the shoulders of Buckingham.

Van Lierde moved into third position before Sudrie emerged first in 49 minutes and 4 seconds. A group of 10 men all exited the water within a minute of each other with Ackermann in second, Van Lierde in third, Mike Aigroz (CHE) and Italy’s Alberto Casadei in fourth and fifth.

Bertrand Billard (FRA) and Buckingham made headway to move into the top four with Van Lierde and Sudrie. The quartet remained close throughout the bike but Van Lierde upped his output after the first lap and opened a four minute lead by the 132km mark. The Belgian powered on into the T2 and proceeded onto the run with a massive 13 minute lead over Buckingham and Aernout.

With Van Lierde in complete control, it was up to Buckingham and Aernouts to stake a claim for the title or be content with second place. While Van Lierde continued to push ahead, a fierce tussle was emerging between Buckingham and Aernouts going shoulder to shoulder. Spaniard, Ivan Rana meanwhile was making headway after being fourth into T2.

Buckingham tried, but could not get away from Aernouts but Rana had managed to pass them both to move into second place as they started the second lap. Van Lierde was relentless though, despite sapping heat, to put in a masterclass performance. The 2013 World Champion finished in a time of 08:16:34, followed by Rana 14 minutes and 9 seconds later with Aernout claiming the final podium position at 08:35:58.

“I came to win in Africa, and I did. Even though I didn’t break the record, I am happy with a win for now. Next time I will take the record.” said a confident Van Lierde.

Top 10 professional men’s results:

                                                            Swim               Cycle                Run                  Finish

1          Frederik VAN LIERDE    BEL      00:49:19            04:32:45            02:49:45            08:16:34

2          Ivan RANA                    ESP     00:49:27            04:48:21            02:48:43            08:30:45

3          Bart AERNOUTS           BEL      0:52:06             04:44:30            02:55:03            08:35:59

4          Matt TRAUTMAN           RSA     00:51:56            04:48:00            02:53:10            08:37:21

5          Eneko LLANOS             ESP     00:49:35            04:47:44            02:55:42            08:37:50

6          Bas DIEDEREN            NED     00:49:30            04:46:56            02:56:51            08:38:14

7          David MCNAMEE          GBR     00:49:26            04:54:40            02:54:54            08:43:35

8          Cyril VIENNOT               FRA      00:51:56            04:47:28            03:01:11            08:45:55

9          Victor Manuel DEL CORRAL MORALES

ESP     00:56:18            04:55:14            02:51:15            08:47:10

10         James CUNNAMA         RSA     00:51:33            04:51:52            02:59:53            08:47:45


For full results from the Standard Bank IRONMAN African Championship visit, Ironman’s website here.