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IRONMAN South Africa: Start time, preview and how to follow

Daniela Ryf (SUI) will star this weekend at IRONMAN South Africa, which doubles as the African Championship in Nelson Mandela Bay.

Staff Reporter
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This is the preview for the 2024 IRONMAN African Championship, which was won by Sweden’s Rasmus Svenningsson and Spaniard Marta Sanchez.

The iconic IRONMAN South Africa will take place this weekend in Nelson Mandela Bay, Port Elizabeth with a strong field of professional athletes making the trip down to the southern tip of the continent.

Boasting a sizeable prize purse as the African Championship and slots to the IRONMAN World Champs in Kona and Nice, the battles for the top spots are set to be ferocious in the Eastern Cape.

In our preview piece below, you can find all the information you need on start times and how to follow, plus a full rundown of the contenders in the pro races.

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Start time and how to follow

The ISUZU IRONMAN African Championship takes place on Sunday April 21, with the 3.8km swim kicking things off at Hobie Beach, over a single loop course.

The men will start at 06:40 local time, with the women setting off five minutes later. This corresponds to 04:40 in the UK, 05:40 CET and 20:40 on the West Coast on Saturday April 20.

The 2024 IRONMAN broadcast schedule has just been released but it doesn’t feature IRONMAN South Africa, which means that the ever reliable IRONMAN Tracker will be your primary information source for real-time data.

Pro Men

On the men’s side, home favourite Matt Trautman comes in as the top seeded athlete, having won IRONMAN 70.3 South Africa in previous seasons and finished on the podium at the full distance event back in 2022.

Clement Mignon wins Long Distance World Champs Ibiza 2023 Benito Trautman [Photo credit: World Triathlon]
[Photo credit: World Triathlon]

Second behind Javier Gomez at IRONMAN 70.3 Mossel Bay in his last race, Trautman will open his season in Nelson Mandela Bay and hope to improve on his tenth place finish here last year, which was impacted by the shortening of the swim.

Joining Trautman on the start line will be last year’s third place finisher Mathias Petersen of Denmark, who also won IRONMAN Austria in 2023, plus fourth place finisher Rasmus Svenningsson of Sweden.

Further down the start list are some athletes with question marks over whether or not they will race. These include Alistair Brownlee, who suffered an ankle injury at the Singapore T100 last weekend, plus Kristian Hogenhaug, who appears to be racing Challenge Gran Canaria instead.

Australian Cam Wurf, who has finished fourth and fifth here in previous years, is also slated to start and will be coming in off the back of helping Tom Pidcock and the Team Ineos Grenadiers win the Amstel Gold race last weekend.

Josh Amberger IRONMAN 70.3 Langkawi 2023
Australian triathlete Josh Amberger wins IRONMAN 70.3 Langkawi in Malaysia on Saturday October 7, 2023 (Photo – IRONMAN).

Finally, fellow Australian Josh Amberger will be a big favourite for the podium on Sunday after tenth place at the Singapore T100, but only if he can shake the long travel over from South East Asia out of his legs.

Pro Women

In the women’s race, ten-time IRONMAN and IRONMAN 70.3 World Champion Daniela Ryf is the undisputed favourite, as she continues her retirement tour after a solid season opener at the Miami T100.

daniela-ryf-kona-2022-run
(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images for IRONMAN)

If the Swiss star is on form, nobody will come close to her, as the PTO World #5 is in a different class to the rest of the start list on her day. Fifth in Miami, it will be interesting to see how Ryf goes over her first full distance race in 2024.

Contending for a Nice slot and a shot at the podium, German Daniela Bleymehl is the next best seeded athlete, and is a previous winner of this event from 2022.

Other contenders include home favourite Magda Nieuwoudt, plus Great Britain’s Susie Cheetham, who races for the first time since finishing third at IRONMAN Sweden. Finally, IRONMAN 70.3 Pucon Marta Sanchez rounds out the podium favourites.

Prize Money: What’s on the line?

The total prize purse on offer in Nelson Mandela Bay is $150,000. The male and female pro winners will earn top prizes of $25,000 each.

In addition to the prize money, there are eight qualifying slots (4MPRO / 4WPRO) on offer for the IRONMAN World Championship events in Kona and Nice, France.

The prize money will be allocated ten-deep, as follows:

  • 1st – $25,000
  • 2nd – $15,000
  • 3rd – $9,000
  • 4th – $7,500
  • 5th – $5,500
  • 6th – $4,000
  • 7th – $3,000
  • 8th – $2,500
  • 9th – $ 2,000
  • 10th – $1,500
Tomos Land
Written by
Tomos Land
Tomos Land is a triathlon & running journalist whose expertise lies in the professional world of short course & long distance triathlon, though he also boasts an extensive knowledge of ultra-running.

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