In the men’s race, Kyle Buckingham (RSA) took the win in 8:13:00 in Port Elizabeth as a local for the first time since South African star Raynard Tissink celebrated his third and final victory back in 2011. Australia’s Josh Amberger (8:16:01) and Germany’s Maurice Clavel (8:18:51) rounded out the podium. American Ben Hoffman, the defending two-time champion and course record holder, struggled with back pain on the run. Hoffman hobbled through the 26.2-mile marathon, finishing the day at 12:06:48.
On the women’s side, Lucy Charles (GBR) followed into the footsteps of former British dominator and four-time Ironman world champion, Chrissie Wellington. The 24-year-old established a swim course record in 47:32 minutes in Mandela Bay in an extremely efficient and elegant fashion to break away early from the rest of women’s field. She crossed the finish line in 8:56:06. This dominating performance coupled with her runner-up finish at last year’s Ironman World Championship will make her a top contender on the Big Island this fall. Fellow countrywoman Susie Cheetham finished second (9:02:58), with American Linsey Corbin (9:07:10) claiming third.
As the winners of a championship-level Ironman race, both Buckingham and Charles cement their spots on the starting of the 2018 Ironman World Championship.