Aernouts, Swallow win South Africa 70.3
Written by: Timothy Carlson
Date: Sun Jan 20 2013
The race was marred by two deaths – race officials announced that two age groupers, ages 29 and 37, suffered fatal cardiac respiratory arrest during the swim leg. According to Ironman 70.3 South Africa spokesman Michael Flanagan, water safety personnel attempted to resuscitate the athletes on scene and in the medical tent before they were transported to nearby St. Dominic’s hospital, where they failed to respond to specialized medical procedures and were pronounced dead. The names of the victims are being withheld pending notification of the families.
Aernouts combined a 12th-best 26:45 swim, a race-best 2:15:39 bike split and a race-fastest 1:17:21 run to finish in 4:03:53 with a 2 minutes 30 seconds margin over runner-up Ronnie Schildknecht of Switzerland and 6:47 over 2006 ITU World Champion and 3rd place finisher Tim Don of Great Britain.
Marko Albert of Estonia led the men out of the swim with a 23:43 split, followed by Mark Threlfall of Great Britain (23:45), Axel Zeebroek of Belgium (23:50), Kyle Leto of the U.S. (23:56), Will Clarke of Great Britain (24:19). Former duathlon World Champion Aernouts was 12th with a 26:45 split.
Albert maintained his lead until midway through the bike leg when Aernouts steamed by on his way to a race-best 2:15:39 split that gave the Belgian the lead at T2. Ronnie Schildknecht of Switzerland, who emerged from the swim just 3 seconds back of Aernouts, also put on the afterburners with a 2nd-best 2:17:46 bike split that brought him to the transition in 2nd, 2 minutes down. Albert, after a 2:21:36 bike split, was 3rd to T2, 30 seconds back of Schildknecht and two minutes ahead of Don, who was 4th into T2 with a 24:58 swim and a 2:22:00 bike.
Aernouts maintained his lead with a race-fastest 1:17:21 run which was 26 seconds better than Schildknecht’s 2nd-best split and brought him to the finish in 4:03:53 with a 2:30 margin of victory over his Swiss rival. Don’s 4th-best 1:19:31 run brought the UK star past Albert to take the final spot on the podium, 4:17 back of Schildknecht. Albert held on to 4th place with a 1:22:54 run that held off 5th place William Clarke and his 3rd-best 1:18:41 run by a margin of 1:36.
Aernouts was delighted with his first win of 2013. “I came out of the water with the second group, together with athletes that had always been stronger than me in previous years,” he said in a release by his sponsor Uplace. “That gave me a boost for the bike leg [where] I tried to move up as fast as possible. When I had the lead, I moved ahead of the rest. The half marathon was hard work, but I managed to complete a pretty constant race.” Aernouts said he was inspired by the recent birth of a daughter: “Perhaps the saying is true and Paulien’s birth did make me fly,” he said.
Jodie Swallow completed a three-peat as the UK star won this event in 2011 and 2012. Swallow combined a race-best 25:11 swim, a 2nd-fastest 2:38:05 bike split and a 2nd-best 1:26:56 run to finish in 4:34:30 with a 9:08 margin over runner-up and fellow UK triathlete Susie Hignett and 9:49 over last year’s runner-up Lucie Zelenkova Reed of the Czech Republic.
Swallow took control of the race from the start with her race-best 25:10 swim which gave her a 1:29 advantage over Reed, 1:36 over Maria Czesnik of Poland, 4:10 over Dianne McEwan of South Africa, 4:12 over Hignett and 5:41 over Natasha Gorrie of South Africa.
Swallow’s 2nd-best 2:38:05 bike split was 3 minutes faster than Hignett and Reed but surrendered 3:56 to Gorrie’s race-fastest 2:34:09 bike split. At the transition, Swallow had a 2:45 lead on Gorrie, 4:30 on Reed, 6:36 on Dianne McEwan, 6:50 on Jeannie Seymour and 7:31 on Hignett.
Swallow then held off her closest contenders with a 1:26:56 run which was 53 seconds faster than Hignett, 5:04 better than Reed, 8:45 better than Gorrie and 6:30 better than Seymour. Swallow finished in 4:34:30 with a comfortable 9:08 margin on Hignett and 9:49 on Reed. Gorrie took 4th, 1:08 behind Reed.
Tine Deckers of Belgium, who had finished 2nd and 3rd at this race in previous years, gained much pre-race attention as she was 14 weeks pregnant and hoping to have one last excellent finish before the anticipated birth of her child this summer. But Deckers lost her goggles 200 meters into the swim and she withdrew. “Some might be able to continue without goggles, but I can’t, especially in this ocean swim. It is a pity. This was my only chance to race during my pregnancy. I really wanted get the strong result I know I had in me today.”
Buffalo City, South Africa
January 20, 2013
S 1.2 mi. / B 56 mi. / R 13.1 mi.
1. Bart Aernouts (BEL) 4:03:53
2. Ronnie Schildknecht (SUI) 4:06:23
3. Tim Don (GBR) 4:10:40
4. Marko Albert (EST) 4:12:11
5. William Clarke (GBR) 4:13:47
6. Cyril Viennot (FRA) 4:16:09
7. Kyle Buckingham (RSA) 4:17:09 * M30-34
8. Mark Threlfall (GBR) 4:17:57
9. Kent Horner (RSA) 4:18:17
10. Swen Sundberg (GER) 4:19:54
11. Kyle Leto (USA) 4:20:04
12. Stephen Bayliss (GBR) 4:24:54
1. Jodie Swallow (GBR) 4:34:29
2. Susie Hignett (GBR) 4:43:38
3. Lucie Zelenkova Reed (CZE) 4:44:19
4. Natasha Gorrie (RSA) 4:45:27
5. Jeannie Seymour (RSA) 4:48:11
6. Dianne McEwan (RSA) 4:49:33
7. Camilla Lindholm (SWE) 4:51:59
8. Annah Watkinson (RSA) 4:54:26 * F30-34
9. Kathrin Walther (GER) 5:07:32
10. Lauren Dougall (RSA) 5:07:45 * F25-29
Belgian Uplace Team Pro Bart Aernouts had a solid 2012 season and started his 2013 account with a win at 70.3 South Africa. He is currently getting ready for the Abu Dhabi Triathlon and we had a few words with him. 2.24.13
Ronnie Schildknecht of Switzerland won his 8th Ironman title with an 8:11:24 finish and Vermont mother of three Jessie Donavan won her 3rd Ironman title by 6:02 over Jodie Swallow at Ironman South Africa. 4.14.13
Marino Vanhoenacker combined a race-best bike split and 2nd-best run to top Ronnie Schildknecht by 6:31; Jodie Swallow dominates the field to repeat her 2011 victory at Ironman 70.3 South Africa. 1.22.12
Frederik Van Lierde used a monster bike split in tough conditions to win the 2011 Spec-Savers Ironman 70.3 South Africa. Jodie Swallow, the current World Champion at that distance, started her 2011 season with another title. 1.23.11