Paula Newby-Fraser Wins Inaugural Ironman South AfricaWith 14 international ironman races now on the schedule, Ironman South Africa brought an M-dot presence to yet another continent and kicked off the first Ironman race of the new millenium.
How appropriate it was that 8-time Ironman World Champion (oops, sorry Les), Paula Newby-Fraser should return to the country from which she launched such an incredible career to win their first truly international ironman event. Getting news of the event so far has been spotty (we'll be talking to Paula within 24-hours) but reports from Paula's father Brian by cellular phone were that she'd won going away and was never challenged throughout the day (dad's not very biased, is he?).
In the days leading up to the event, Paula spoke of the beauty of the course but also of it's difficulty. When asked to compare it to other ironman courses she compared it to a combination of Lanzarote (not quite as hilly but definitely as windy) with some hints of Boulder, CO. She said that it would be a race of attrition and with a couple of hundred relays, the temptation to get sucked into too hard a pace early on could prove disastrous later in the day.
The pre-race activity included a medical conference led by South Africa's cutting edge physiologist and endurance running expert, Tim Noakes. Paula volunteered (along with 10% of the field) to take part in a pre and post race study on the fat / carbohydrate metabolism and intramuscluar fat stores with relation to endurance performance. They were also studying the effect of oral sodium supplementation to avoid hyponatremia and stomach upset caused by sea water ingestion. There should be some great (and even useful!) information to come out of all of that.
Ok, we've just gotten results from the local web-site: www.ironmanafrica.com
Here they are:
Newby-Fraser Paula 37 F 1 1 09:57:23
Erlank Anke 22 F 11 2 10:20:03
Vabrousek Petr 26 M 4 1 08:54:35
Van Rooyen Jan 27 M 7 2 08:56:05
Oudeman Menno 30 M 14 3 08:58:57
Cordier Yves 35 M 3 4 09:06:00
Gore Glen 30 M 10 5 09:10:23
Hammerl Hubert 28 M 48 6 09:25:38
Imaida Makoto 26 M 22 7 09:32:23
Schwob Tom 31 M 19 8 09:36:09
Bester Nick 39 M 5 9 09:40:03
Tissink Raynard 26 M 2 10 09:52:18
Kregar Miro 37 M 25 11 09:55:53
De Bruyn John 27 M 29 12 10:18:05
Interesting to note that Paula will consider this a relatively "slow" women's winning time because it's more than an hour behind the winning male. If you look at past differences in the winning men's and women's times of past ironman races, you'll see that a "good" time difference is 30 to 45 minutes. Obviously much depends on the quality of both fields.
Also interesting to note how tight the finish of the men's race was and the presence of the "Sun Prince" Yves Cordier from France. Yves is a past winner of the Nice Long Distance World Championship who's noted for having led what seemed like every Nice World Championship in the past only to get run down by 10-time Nice winner, Mark Allen. The other names of note are top South African triathlete, Glen Gore and top Comrades Marathon finisher, Nick Bestor (who says ultra runners can't swim?).
We'll have an interview with Paula in a little while . . .