Flora Duffy overcame a five-minute deficit after the bike to run her way to a debut half-distance win, while Matt Trautman ran clear of a group of five who came off the bike together to take the men’s title at Ironman 70.3 South Africa.
Duffy overcomes glute issues to take a big win
After decimating the rest of the women’s field in the water (Duffy was a whopping 3:34 ahead of Lucie Zelenkova and over four minutes ahead of the next three women, South Africans Lauren Cannon and Annah Watkinson who were followed by Great Britain’s Emma Pallant), the Bermudan star was still almost four-minutes up on Pallant at the halfway point of the bike before some “glut issues” dramatically slowed Duffy down.
Did my first @IRONMANtri 70.3 yesterday. In the last 45km my left glute really locked up and was unable to push any power (I lost 9mins!). So glad I was able to recompose myself and run for the win. Learnt a lot & so happy to punch my ticket to worlds. #IM703SA pic.twitter.com/gUwmDgctco
— Flora Duffy (@floraduffy) January 27, 2020
After coming off the bike five minutes behind Palland and about 3:30 down on South Africa’s Jade Nicole, Duffy put together the days fastest run (1:20:37) to move her way to the top of the podium and nail her qualifying slot for the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Taupo in November, signalling a possible move up to longer distances after she competes at the Olympics in Tokyo this summer.
Pallant hung on for second, with Nicole rounding out the women’s podium.
Women’s Top Five
- Flora Duffy (BER) 4:34:05
- Emma Pallant (GBR) 4:36:08
- Jade Nicole (RSA) 4:41:17
- Natia Van Heerden (RSA) 4:46:26
- Annah Watkinson (RSA) 4:48:39
Trautman takes the footrace
Like Duffy, Olympic bronze-medalist Henri Schoeman was making his distance debut in his home country and also dominated the swim. Schoeman was over two minutes up on a group that included two-time Ironman 70.3 world champion Michael Raelert, South Africans Rudolf Naude, Matt Trautman, Bradley Weiss and Kyle Buckingham, with France’s Cyril Viennot rounding out the six-man chase group.
Schoeman held off the chasers through the first half of the bike, but towards the end of the ride he was caught by Trautman, Buckingham, Raelert and Weiss, with 17-seconds separating that group into T2.
The 21-km footrace was dominated by Trautman – his 1:15:43 split was more than enough to give him a 2:49 cushion over defending champion Weiss. (The finishing order was a reverse of last year’s standings.) Schoeman hung tough to round out the podium, with Belgium’s Bart Aernouts running his way through some of the lead group to nail fourth, bumping Raelert out of the top five.
Men’s Top Five
- Matt Trautman (RSA) 4:02:59
- Bradley Weiss (RSA) 4:05:48
- Henri Schoeman (RSA) 4:07:30
- Bart Aernouts (BEL) 4:09:10
- Kyle Buckingham (RSA) 4:10:17