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Flora Duffy, Matt Trautman win IRONMAN 70.3 South Africa

An impressive Flora Duffy wins her first middle distance start, while Matt Truatman earns a fourth career victory at IRONMAN 70.3 South Africa

Chief Correspondent
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Two-time ITU World Champion wins on IRONMAN 70.3 debut

Emma Pallant maintain’s Great Britain’s 13 year podium streak in Buffalo City

It might have been a new style of swim-bike-run for Bermuda’s sporting hero, but Flora Duffy showed today that she will surely be a significant threat over the middle distance format at IRONMAN 70.3 South Africa. We’ll get to see her race against the world’s best later this year in Taupo, New Zealand, at the 2020 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championships. Between now and then, the small matter of Tokyo 2020 to think about.

The men’s race saw a reversal of the top two positions from 12 months ago (HERE), with Matt Trautman taking a fourth win at the event (to add to 2018, 2016 and 2015), ahead of XTERRA World Champion, Bradley Weiss. The all South African men’s podium was completed by another ITU debutant over the distance, Commonwealth Games Champion, Henri Schoeman.


No surprise to see Flora Duffy in a league of her own in the swim, she’s typically seen at the front of every race alongside the likes of Jess Learmonth and Katie Zaferes. More than three and half minutes clear of Lucie Zelenkova (CZE), her advantage of Great Britain’s Emma Pallant in fourth place was a whopping 4:18.

By the midpoint of the bike, Duffy was still well clear and pretty much holding that four minute gap over the chasing duo of Pallant and Jade Nicole (RSA). On the return leg, we can only assume that ‘something’ happened – mechanical or puncture – as the always strong on the bike Duffy lost a huge amount of time.

*** UPDATE *** Flora explains post-race that time loss:

Pallant reached T2 in first place, 1:25 up on Nicole, but with Duffy now a full five minutes in arrears in third. With Emma already qualified for the World Champs, Flora would at least need second place to secure the slot that she wanted. She would do much more than that.

The first 6km saw Pallant and Duffy matched almost second-for-second pace wise, while Jade Nicole was still holding second place but being caught. The pass happened around the 10km mark, by which time the Stellenbosch-based, pride of Bermuda was starting to also make up time on the British athlete.

With 5km to go the gap was down to a minute, and Duffy would show no signs of slowing, closing out her race with an impressive 1:20:37 run, which would bring her home two minutes ahead of Pallant (1:27:38).


Absolutely no surprise at all to see Henri Schoeman set a pace that nobody could go with through the 1.9km swim. He would start the bike more than two minutes clear of a group that included many of the favourites, including Michael Raelert (GER), Trautman, Weiss, Cyril Viennot (FRA), Rudolf Naude (RSA) and Kyle Buckingham (RSA).

The first half of the bike saw Schoeman maintain his advantage, with Weiss, Trautman, Raelert and Buckingham the strong riders who now formed the chasing group. The fast return leg would see all five come together, and as they started the run, Trautman in first and Schoeman in fifth were separated by less than 20 seconds.

Trautman took his small T2 lead and never let it go, a 1:15:43 half marathon comfortably the best of the day and allowing his to collect a fourth win at this even with a winning margin of almost three minutes, ahead of Weiss (1:18:15) and Schoeman (1:19:55). Those times gives some reflection of how impressive the run performance from Flora Duffy was today.

IRONMAN 70.3 South Africa, Sunday 26th January 2020
1.9km / 90km / 21.1km


1st – Matt Trautman (RSA) – 4:02:59
2nd – Bradley Weiss (RSA) – 4:05:48
3rd – Henri Schoeman (RSA) – 4:07:30
4th – Bart Aernouts (BEL) – 4:09:10
5th – Kyle Buckingham (RSA) – 4:10:17


1st – Flora Duffy (BER) – 4:34:05
2nd – Emma Pallant (GBR) – 4:36:08
3rd – Jade Nicole (RSA) – 4:41:17
4th – Natia Van Heerden (RSA) – 4:46:26
5th – Annah Watkinson (RSA) – 4:48:39

Great Britain’s podium run at IRONMAN 70.3 South Africa:

  • 2008 – Fraser Cartmell (3rd) – REPORT
  • 2009 – Fraser Cartmell (2nd) – REPORT
  • 2010 – Fraser Cartmell (1st) – REPORT / GALLERY
  • 2011 – Jodie Swallow (1st) – REPORT
  • 2012 – Jodie Swallow (1st) – REPORT
  • 2013 – Jodie Swallow (1st) / Susie Cheetham (2nd) / Tim Don (3rd) –  REPORT
  • 2014 – Jodie Swallow (1st) / Will Clarke (2nd) – REPORT (WOMEN) / REPORT (MEN)
  • 2015 – Jodie Swallow (1st) / Susie Cheetham (2nd) / Parys Edwards (3rd) – REPORT
  • 2016 – Jodie Swallow (1st) – REPORT
  • 2017 – Jodie Swallow (1st) / Susie Cheetham (2nd) – REPORT
  • 2018 – Emma Pallant (2nd) – REPORT
  • 2019 – Emma Pallant (2nd) – REPORT
  • 2020 – Emma Pallant (2nd)
John Levison
Written by
John Levison
TRI247's Chief Correspondent, John has been involved in triathlon for well over 30 years, 15 of those writing on these pages, whilst he can also be found commentating for events across the UK.
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