Due to major road works in the centre of the city, we have had to make changes to the race route for the 2016 Standard Bank IRONMAN African Championship taking place on Sunday 10 April 2016.
The biggest and most significant change will be on the bike route. While certain changes to the bike route have been enforced due to road works on sections of the 2015 course, the new course offers enhanced safety for athletes with full road closure and contains significantly fewer cross over points for motorists.
The new route, while remaining two laps of 90.1km, is now almost completely coastal and will see athletes exit transition to their left along Marine Drive, passing Schoenmakerskop and Sardinia Bay before joining Seaview Road via Heron Road. Athletes will continue until Beachview where they will turn and complete the reverse, back to transition at Hobie Beach. Athletes will then turn in front of the Beach Hotel and proceed to the second lap.
The run route will be changing from three laps of 14.06km to four laps of 10.55km. Athletes will exit transition at the Blue Waters Cafe entrance to the Hobie Beach parking area, proceed past the old turnaround point at Driftsands and turn at the Humerail intersection. After the turnaround, athletes will run along Marine Drive and turn right into Admiralty Way turning around at the island at the University Way junction and make their way back towards Marine Drive and transition. The new run route gives athletes more time along Marine Drive where supporters will be in abundance. This also removes the dark and lonely stretch of Marine Drive after the university back gate.
The swim course remains the same but after great success at international races as well as at the Standard Bank IRONMAN 70.3 Durban this year, the new rolling swim start system will be introduced. The rolling swim start has become the international standard for IRONMAN and IRONMAN 70.3 races after debuting at races around the world in 2015. This creates a safer swimming environment for athletes as it alleviates the congestion of the mass start, reducing the chance of athletes being swum over. The self-seeding system means that the stronger swimmers start at the front of the race. Rolling swim starts have also shown to alleviate drafting on the bike leg.
As organisers we always have multiple route options in our planning structures to account for various scenarios. While some of the changes are enforced, we truly believe that the new course will present an exciting challenge for athletes while minimizing the impact on the city and residents. With safety being our core focus, the new route ensures that we are able to minimise risk efficiently while still offering a world class race experience.