With its magnificent and varied landscape, South Africa is able to host various sporting challenges, and in recent years we’ve been proving that we can do it with aplomb, many of our events now ranking right up at the top of the international sporting calendar.
The City Lodge Hotel Group 3 Beaches Challenge
In 2012 City Lodge Hotel Group created a fun new event that capitalises on one of Port Elizabeth’s best assets: its world-class beachfront. The City Lodge Hotel Group 3 Beaches Challenge allows open water swimmers, ocean paddlers and lifesavers a chance to pit their skills against the waves, either as individual racers or in a team.
This year’s race, which took place on Sunday 23 March, began as always at Pollok Beach, Nelson Mandela Bay. In glorious weather over 200 participants swam, paddled or surf skied along the waters of three of the city’s beautiful beaches before leaving the ocean and running back to Pollok Beach. This year they were joined in their progress by a pod of dolphins!
The men’s winner was Wesley Wiehahn, and the women’s winner was Antonella Saporta, who won by supplanting two-time champion Liza Bright by two minutes! Dylan Smith, Ian Venter, Amy Mardon and Courtney Shaw won the quad team category, Jason Kalogeropoulos won the lifesaving Ironman category, and Werner Smit won the paddlers category.
Still to come on 6 April is the Ironman SA Challenge! Triathletes from around the world are going to descend on Port Elizabeth, racing not only to beat each other but also to beat any ideas they may have on their own limitations. Ironman is all about pushing through the pain to achieve the heights of physical strength and endurance.
This race, like the 3 Beaches Challenge, starts at Nelson Mandela Bay, with the first portion of the race a 3.8 km swim across the bay. The athletes then jump on their bikes for a gruelling 180.2 km ride, before pulling on their shoes and running a further 40.2 km! Whew.
The new bike route will take in Seaview Road, Kagga Kamma Road, De Stades Road and Maitland Road, allowing riders the chance to peddle along what is arguably the most spectacular Ironman route in the world.
To all those of you taking part, we take off our caps to you and wish you the very best. May your legs and will be like iron!
Another event only for the super, super fit is the epic, nine-day joBerg2c mountain biking adventure, which takes riders from Johannesburg (joBerg) to Scottburgh on the KZN coast (hence the “c” for sea).
When it comes to cycling, South Africa is a top destination. From the Cape Argus to the Cape Epic and the UCI MTB Challenge, we draw the very top cyclists from around the world, as well as many local and recreational riders besides. The joBerg2c is another great event on our cycling calendar. It offers riders nine days of cross-country cycling, with daily distances ranging from 78.4 to 123 km.
It’s a challenge that requires long-term training and mental prowess, but the landscape traversed is challenging, varied, and offers world-class views, so it’s well worth the effort. Only 10 km of the entire 900 km course is tar – the rest consists of ‘Subaru track’, dirt roads, and single-track. It’s the stuff of mountain bikers’ dreams!