Alistair Brownlee and Laura Philipp will both start their 2023 seasons at the IRONMAN African Championship on March 5th.
Double Olympic champion Brownlee is currently halfway through a big training block in La Nucia in Spain and this will be the second time the Brit has raced in Nelson Mandela Bay after a superb performance in 2018 which saw him narrowly lose to Jan Frodeno in a classic IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship.
Germany’s Philipp meanwhile will face a small but select women’s field, which includes Britain’s Fenella Langridge.
Brownlee aiming to seal Nice spot
Last season was blighted by injury and illness for Brownlee but he still managed to clock the fastest-ever IRONMAN time by a Briton when winning in Kalmar and ended the year in the top 10 of the PTO rankings.
That booked his IRONMAN World Championship slot in Kona but he was unable to take part owing to a stress fracture in his femur.
He’ll be looking to tick the IMWC qualification box early this season in South Africa, for what will be a first-ever showdown in Nice for the men in 2023.
“Excited to kick off the 2023 season and return to Port Elizabeth in a few weeks time to race IRONMAN South Africa,” he said on his social channels. “I’ve got great memories from the last time I raced there, it’s a beautiful course!”
The 24-strong professional men’s field will also feature French duo Leon Chevalier and Clément Mignon as well as Aussie pro cyclist Cameron Wurf.
In the absence of defending champion Kyle Buckingham, fellow South Africans Bradley Weiss and Matt Trautman, who took second and third places respectively last year, will be aiming for a home win this year.
Langridge lines up against Philipp
Heading the women’s field in South Africa will be Germany’s Laura Philipp, who last year set the second-best time ever for a full-distance event when winning IRONMAN Hamburg in 8:18:20.
She’ll face 13 rivals, including 2022 Challenge Roth runner-up Fenella Langridge who will be looking to continue the fine run of British athletes after wins for Lucy Charles-Barclay (2018 and 2019) and Ruth Astle (2021)
The event returns to the original swim course venue, where athletes will take on a 3.8km swim at Hobie Beach, followed by a 180.2km bike on arguably one of the most spectacular courses on the IRONMAN world circuit. The run will take athletes along the beach fronts of Summerstrand and Humewood to Flat Rocks.