top of page

Ironman 70.3 Nelson Mandela Bay 2024

Updated: Jun 18

Ironman 70.3 Nelson Mandela Bay 2024

April 21st, 2024

Port Elizabeth (Gqeberha), South Africa

Half Ironman

This race was a pressure cooker for a few reasons. First, KimiTri had a whole army invading both the half and full Ironman. Second, it was my PE debut – hello, uncharted territory! And finally, it kicked off the epic Empower 5 challenge. I was practically vibrating with excitement to unleash the beast on 2024's races!

Training was stellar… until two weeks before, that is. My genius plan involved partaking in a father-son touch rugby match at his school, which resulted in a spectacular hamstring pull. Oops. But hey, on the bright side, my swim was dialed in, the trusty steed (aka my bike) was purring, and my running was holding strong – I even crushed a 21K race a couple weeks back!

The pre-race days were a flurry of bike prep, nervous runs, and refreshing swims. And true to PE form, the weather gods blessed us – no sign of the dreaded "Windy City" reputation! We were in for a cracker.

Race Day Dawns (and Blows)

Hitting the street with Candice first thing race morning, I saw the pier flags doing a full-on mosh pit. "Long day ahead," I muttered, already feeling the wind's icy grip. Candice, ever the optimist, chirped, "Nah, they're just saying hi!" (Bless her heart.)

Down at the beach, we hustled to grab prime pen position – me, Michael, Jacques, and a few other early birds for the 70.3. The coolest part? We got to witness the full Ironman sharks take off first, ramping up the atmosphere like crazy. We watched the pros shred the swim, then realized with a collective gulp – Windy City had officially shown up.

Geared up in my wetsuit, I dove in. The current, waves, and wind were basically a three-way smackdown party. Finding a rhythm was like trying to waltz in a mosh pit. Breathing to the right? Forget it. Waves were like rogue ninjas, so I went full-on multisport chameleon with my breathing. Still, I managed to unintentionally channel my inner fish, swallowing more ocean than I care to admit.

 (Shoutout to that friend who coined, "I see you tried to drink as much of the sea s you could, so you could lower its level and get out faster!) Anyway, after that aquatic rodeo, I scrambled back onto the beach, in what what was not such a bad time to be honest, I was ready to conquer the next leg.

Swim time: 32min38sec

The Curse of the New Sock

Okay, everyone knows the golden rule: nothing new on race day. But sometimes, your overly enthusiastic self thinks it can outsmart tradition. (Spoiler alert: it can't.)

My hamstring was acting up, so I went into full-on MacGyver mode in transition. New, ultra-thick run socks? Check. Thigh compression sock (because, hey, who needs circulation anyway?) Check and check. Needless to say, this self-proclaimed brilliance translated to a transition that resembled a clown car exploding.

Transition 1! A beachgoer's paradise turned runner's nightmare. It made Brighton's pebble beach feel like a plush spa day.  And let's just say the marshals probably weren't sure if I was cheering myself on or hurling insults at the ground. (Spoiler alert again: it was the latter. That surface was giving me the most painful reflexology session ever invented.)

Then, just to add the cherry on top, my cycling shoe strap decided to play dead right as I went to clip in. Cue the frantic fumbling and muttered curses as I became a human pretzel, wrestling my foot back into the shoe.

So yeah, lesson learned. New stuff on race day? Not unless it's a magic potion for instant hamstring healing.

Transition 1 time: 3min52sec

Bike Leg: Bottles, Hills, and a Hurl-a-Palooza

Transition drama averted, it was time to conquer the bike course! The first 40km were a breeze – scenic, fast, and perfect for channeling my inner Tour de France champion.  Except for the minor detail of, you know, jettisoning my water bottle... twice.  The first time, I heroically retrieved it.  The second time?  Hill approaching, turnaround point imminent, and all that – bottle became an offering to the cycling gods.  (Priorities, people!) Until I saw it and picked it up, slowing my time again!

Speaking of offerings, the turnaround revealed the real villain of the day: wind.  Apparently, the first 40km were a warm-up for this headwind beatdown.  And guess who decided to re-enact that whole "sea water smoothie" incident from the swim at the 50, 60, and 70km marks?  Yeah, this guy.  Moral crushed, fuel tank on fumes, I basically limped back to transition.  Let's just say T2 never looked so darn inviting.  The bike leg might have been a rollercoaster, but hey, at least I learned a valuable lesson about mental fortitude (and maybe not chugging ocean water during the swim next time).  Onwards and upwards!

Bike time: 3hr10min31sec

T2: Tired But Feisty (and Desperate to Escape My Feet!)

Back in transition, my first thought wasn't "time to conquer the run!" It was more like, "please, sweet merciful transition gods, let my poor feet escape this ongoing reflexology torture session!" (Seriously, this parking lot had a vendetta against my soles.)

Despite the fatigue, transition went smoothly.  Okay, maybe "smoothly" is a generous term for a guy running on fumes.  But hey, at least I wasn't fumbling around like a lost sock puppet.  The run beckoned, and with it, a glimmer of hope.  Maybe I could shave off some time here... even with the ever-present worry of my hamstring acting up like a grumpy toddler.  Game on, run course!  Let's do this!

Transition 2 time: 3min52sec

Runnin' and Rumblin': Wind Edition

The run started like a dream!  I even conquered this sketchy metal ramp under the boardwalk – seriously, that thing could have been designed by a circus ringmaster.  But hey, we all survived without faceplanting, which is always a win.  

First 3 kilometers? Pure bliss.  Then, reality struck (as it often does) in the form of my new best friend: the Port Elizabeth wind.  Let's just say the next 5 kilometers were a headwind struggle bus situation.

But here's the thing – this runner doesn't give up easily!  The following 5 kilometers back with the wind were a glorious tailwind party.  Pace picked up, comfort levels soared, and then... bam!  Another 5 kilometers of wind resistance.  (Seriously, Mother Nature, could you make up your mind already?) The good news?  The course itself was awesome, the support was electric, and the niggle in my hamstring decided to take a nap during the windy bits (too busy battling the elements to even whine, apparently).  The time might not have been record-breaking, but hey, this run was a masterclass in mental toughness.  Pushed through it, finished strong, learned a ton – that's what it's all about!

Run time: 2hr01min17sec

Overall time: 5hr51min53sec

Finish Line Feels: A Race of Lessons and a Top 10 Triumph!

Crossing that finish line was a mixed bag of emotions.  Sure, the race didn't exactly follow the script, but hey, that's the beauty of the sport, right?  Having the entire KimiTri support crew and my amazing #1 supporter, Candice, cheering me on definitely gave me the mental boost I needed to power through (even if I missed you on the bike, oops, sorry love!).

But hey, the sting of the unexpected fades fast when you see "10th place" on the results board!  Another day, another office conquered, and a whole lot learned in a short space of time.  Here's to taking those lessons and crushing the next race!  Onwards and upwards!  #Top10Finisher #LearningMachine

Sunday Funday (with a Twist): Lessons Learned and Empower Five Takes Off!

Sunday's race threw me a curveball, but hey, that's how you learn and grow, right? And learn I did! One big takeaway?  Maybe a coach is in the cards. Stay tuned for updates on that front! (Spoiler alert: things are already moving!)

Speaking of moving, Empower 5 is officially off and running! Gear up – the next race will be a logo showcase for our awesome sponsors. Time to get that marketing machine humming!

One race down, four epic African adventures to go!  The excitement is real, and the best part?  Every kilometer conquered means empowering more teachers across South Africa. Let's do this! #EmpowerFive #AfricanAdventureAwaits

66 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page