Last year, Ironman South Africa was the race that Chrissie Wellington once again made people stand up and ask, ‘how much faster can this woman go?” She smashed the South Africa bike record (4:45:23), run record (2:52:54) and course record (8:33:56). She recorded the fastest ever Ironman branded race by a woman, and finished 8th overall on the day, notching up the fastest marathon overall as well.

This year will be a closer contest for the women. 6 x Ironman World Champion, and 2005, 2006 and 2007 South Africa winner, Natascha Badmann, who also previously held the bike course record at SA before Wellington smashed it, is back again for another crack at the title and is feeling fully fit.

Badmann’s competition includes: Diana Riesler who finished third last year, with a solid sub-5hr ride; Virginia Berasategui, who is going into the race as the favourite after her 10th place in Hawaii in 2011. However, this is her first race of the year after undergoing foot surgery in November last year; and local women Claire Horner and Caroline Koll.

At the press conference, the women were concerned about the wind conditions on Sunday. Berasategui, however, was looking forward to the bad conditions, and hoping to thrive in them. The women all agreed that if the wind hit 30knots, they would be changing to thinner rimmed wheels. When the race announcer stated, “remember race wheels will help in the wind,” Riesler responded with “not if you’re 50kg and can’t stay on the bike!”

– Thanks to Jo Coombe, our media rep for the race in South Africa

About The Author

Stef Hanson. Chief.

Chief and founder of WITSUP

Serious about what I do, but don’t take myself too seriously

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