Belgium’s Marino Vanhoenacker and Great Britain’s Jodie Swallow took early-season titles in Buffalo City at Sunday’s Ironman 70.3 South Africa race.
Vanhoenacker exited the water 32 seconds back of the lead swimmer, Edo Van De Meer. It wasn’t long before he took the front spot on the bike, posting a field-leading 2:18:01 bike split. Vanhoenacker kept up the strong pace as he started the half marathon. His 1:17:20 run split easily gave him the 4:06:25 win. Ronnie Schildknecht of Switzerland posted the fastest half marathon of the day in 1:17:05 to earn second at 4:14:56. Former pro cyclist Domenico Passuello of Italy finished third.
In the women’s race, Swallow gained an advantage early by exiting the water with the lead men. That swim, paired with the fastest bike split for the women, gave Swallow a sizeable lead heading onto the run. Her 1:31:14 half marathon was enough to give her the 4:39:01 victory. The Czech Republic’s Lucie Zelenkova maintained second position throughout much of the day and finished in that position, going 4:43:56. Third place went to Belgium’s Tine Deckers.
Ironman 70.3 South Africa
Buffalo City, South Africa – Jan. 22, 2012
1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike, 13.1-mile run
1. Marino Vanhoenacker (BEL) 4:06:25
2. Ronnie Schildknecht (SUI) 4:12:56
3. Domenico Passuello (ITA) 4:18:37
4. Mark Threlfall (GBR) 4:19:46
5. Kent Horner (NZL) 4:21:34
1. Jodie Swallow (GBR) 4:39:01
2. Lucie Zelenkova (CZE) 4:43:56
3. Tine Deckers (BEL) 4:46:13
4. Claire Horner (RSA) 4:51:39
5. Annah Watkinson (RSA)* 4:58:38