Ben Hoffman of the U.S. won his third Ironman Africa Championship and Lucy Charles-Barclay of Great Britain won her second in a row at Nelson Mandela Bay in South Africa.
Casting a pall on the day, two age group competitors died in hospital after being removed from the swim while suffering fatal issues. One man died of of a suspected heart attack and the other suffered convulsions during the swim.
The South African newspaper HeraldLIVE reported that both incidents happened 10 minutes apart and both were declared dead when they reached the hospital.
Officials said that Leon Stanvliet, age 63, from George, South Africa, suffered convulsions during the swim and Andre Trichardt, 58, from Durban, was believed to have a heart-related problem during the swim.
South Africa Ironman officials posted this statement on Facebook. "It is with great sadness that we confirm the death of two race participants at the Ironman African Championship. Both athletes required medical attention during the swim portion of Sunday's race and were transported to a nearby hospital where they were treated.
"Our condolences go out to the family and friends of both athletes, whom we will continue to support. We are working with the local authorities to gather all details."
On a day when rough surf conditions caused race organizers to cut the swim to half length, Hoffman overcame a 1:03 deficit to swim leader Josh Amberger of Australia with a second-fastest 4:24:25 bike split and a dominating 2:39:18 marathon to finish in 7:34:20 with a 5:53 margin of victory over 2014 race champion Nils Frommhold of Germany and 8:16 over Michael Weiss of Austria.
Hoffman battled Amberger and Germans Frommhold, Andreas Dreitz and Maurice Clavel until the last 25km of the bike leg where the American sprinted off to a 90 seconds advantage at T2. Frommhold, Dreitz and Amberger whittled Hoffman’s lead by a few seconds in the first 8km of the run before the U.S. star increased his pace and never relented.
The victory was Hoffman’s third at this venue after wins in 2016 and 2017.
Lucy Charles-Barclay fought a familiar early race duel with super swimmer-biker Lauren Brandon of the U.S. which was interrupted by German top biker Anja Ippach who wrested a 3:15 lead at the end of the bike leg. By 10 km of the run, Charles-Barclay took charge by a 48 seconds margin over Ippach and 3:39 over Brandon. After a women’s 3rd-best 2:59:33 marathon, Charles-Barclay finished in 8:35:32 with a 5:16 margin of victory over Gurutz Frades of Spain, who closed fast with a women’s-best 2:52:41 run split and 7:47 over home country favorite Annah Watkinson who ran 2:55:03 to take the final spot on the podium.
Early contender Lauren Brandon fell to 4th with a 3:17:55 marathon and dominating biker Ippach dropped to 5th with a 3:24:39 run.
Ironman South Africa Championship
Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa
April 7, 2019
S 1.2 mi. / B 112 mi. / R 26.2 mi.
1. Ben Hoffman (USA) 7:34:20 S 26:04 T1 2:17 B 4:24:25 T2 2:19 R 2:39:18
2. Nils Frommhold (GER) 7:40:13 S 25:49 T1 2:04 B 4:26:24 T2 2:15 R 2:43:43
3. Michael Weiss (AUT) 7:42:36 S 30:06 T1 2:22 B 4:24:19 T2 2:09 R 2:43:42
4. Eneko Llanos (ESP) 7:45:00 S 25:57 T1 2:06 B 4:28:25 T2 2:35 R 2:45:58
5. Maurice Clavel (GER) 7:45:30 S 25:55 T1 1:56 B 4:26:27 T2 2:09 R 2:49:04
1. Lucy Charles Barclay (GBR) 8:35:32 S 25:21 T1 2:14 B 5:05:47 T2 2:38 R 2:59:33
2. Gurutz Frades (ESP) 8:40:48 S 33:00 T1 2:37 B 5:10:08 T2 2:23 R 2:52:41
3. Annah Watkinson (RSA) 8:43:19 S 30:45 T1 2:2 B 5:12:18 T2 2:32 R 2:55:03
4. Lauren Brandon (USA) 8:53:36 S 25:29 T1 2:06 B 5:05:42 T2 2:26 R 3:17:55
5. Anja Ippach (GER) 8:7:11 S 29:40 T1 2:12 B 4:58:10 T2 2:33 R 3:24:39