Local homegrown hero Kyle Buckingham has won the Ironman African Championship in Nelson Mandela Bay in 7h16’31.
It was a clean sweep of the podium by South African professional triathletes with a hard-charging Bradley Weiss just 20 seconds behind in 2nd place.
He collapsed in exhaustion on the line.
Fellow South African Matty Trautman was another 46 seconds back in 3rd place.
Joe Skipper of the UK was just over 2 minutes adrift of Trautman in 4th place.
Buckingham was the dominant force in the race which started in steady rain and in which the swim leg was shortened from 3.8 km to just 750 metres because of rough sea conditions.
He held the lead off the 180 km bike leg and although Weiss and Trautman worked together to try and hunt him down on the 42.2km marathon leg, they were unable to bridge the gap.
It is the 2nd time that Buckingham has won the Ironman African Championship. He dedicated the win to his young son and to his father who passed away in 2018 and his mom who died last year.
“ This is for them,” he said. “I thought I was going to pass out with about a kilometre to go because I knew Matt and Brad were pushing so hard. I am so proud that we are three South Africans on the podium. It has been a tough few years losing both my parents but I feel that I am back now where I want to be and am looking forward to some more good racing this year.”
Daniela Bleymehl of Germany won the ladies’ race in 8h22’35 from countrywoman Elena Illeditch in 8h34’00.
South Africa’s Magna Nieuwoudt rounded out the podium in 8h37’46 with fellow South African Natia van Heerden just over a minute behind her in 4th place.
South Africa enjoyed a clean sweep of the podium in both the men’s and women’s half Ironman which was held in conjunction with the main race.
The men’s 70.3 was won by Manfred Lambrechts in 3h40’50 from Ewert Kleynhans in 3h41’39 and Adriaan Myburgh in 3h42’03.
The ladies 70.3 was won by Marizaan Vermeulen in 4h22’56. Lovemore Heights local Antonelle Saporta took 2nd place in a photo finish from Shannon Lourens in 4h24’23.