Last weekend on April 14th, the Swiss athlete Ronnie Schildknecht, won his first South African Ironman in the town of Port Elizabeth. This victory adds up to his 7 others, 6 consecutive times at the Switzerland Ironman in Zurich and 1 time at the Ironman in Florida.
Port Elizabeth was celebrating its 9th Ironman this year, sponsored by Spec-Savers, a leading group in optometry. Out of the 1622 starters, 1542 men and women of 50 nationalities finished the race under great weather conditions. The previous year the racers had to deal with the hot sun. The winner in the male category was the Spanish athlete Clemente Alonso McKernan in 8h34.36.
Schildknecht arrived after 8h11.20, followed 8 minutes later by the French Cyril Viennot with a time of 8h19.51 and the Dutch Bas Diederen with 8h22.09.
After the race Schildnecht talked to reporters and said “I really had one of the best days in my career. The spectators were crazy; never before [have I] seen something so special. I got energized from their enthusiasm.” Viennot who arrived second in 2012 as well shared “Ronnie is a good runner – it was impossible.” He was happy to finish second. Viennot did very well in the swiming race and finished first in the running race with a total of 2h48.35.
The race had started that morning on the Nelson Mandela Bay on Hobie beach at 6h40. Schildknecht did 3.9 km (2 loops) in 52 min 48. It is an average of 100 meters in 2.30 minutes.
Then, he continued with the biking race,180 km (3 loops) in 4h22.01. His highest speed of 43.03 km/hr was during the 120th and 153th km.
The last part of the competition was the marathon with 42.2 km (3 loops). Schildknecht finished it in 2h53.03, which is an average of 4.06 km/hr.
If you ever wondered how long it takes for triathlon athletes to change between races, it took Ronnie Schildknecht 1 minute 43 to change from swim to bike and 1 minute 49 from bike to run.