I lucked out. I landed an internship here in South Africa working with the Ironman South Africa Media Team with seven other girls. Over the past month we have been corresponding with the media office, interviewing and writing articles on various competitors and any other tasks leading up to the big event. This past week we worked promotional events everyday and completed other last-minute errands and press releases. Friday morning was the pre-race press conference, and Leoni and I were assigned to cover the event. It was held with all the international media attending the event, Paul Kaye the MC of the race, and the top 5 men and top 5 women all professional triathletes competing.
We got to interview the athletes, take pictures and immediately come together to write the article. Consider us now published journalists on an international website! You can find our article about the press conference here:
Check out that byline!
Saturday was an early morning for us as we had to get to the office by 7 am and as the roads closed I was bound to a 40 minute walk to get there. Luckily it was all during a beautiful sunrise!
Here was some of the initial set up of the big event as well:
Saturday was a social media day for me as I was bound to the @IRONMANSA twitter account to keep up with the Vodacom Corporate Triathlon Challenge as well as the Pritt Kids IRONMAN. The Corporate Challenge was made up of teams from business or individuals that were to complete 10% of the actual Ironman. The Ironkids was a much shorter distance of 50-100m swim and a 300 yard run (no bicycling included). The children were adorable! We had a great time with it.
Then was Sunday (today), the big event! We had to be here at 5 am this morning, can you believe it!? There was much to do before the race started at 7 am. This Ironman is the only one in all of Africa and is held right here in Port Elizabeth. This year there were 1775 athletes competing and only 37 were professional athletes. That means 1738 have normal jobs and families and do this for fun…. um what?! It’s amazing! The talent and drive out here is incredible. I have never seen an Ironman before and it truly is something to witness. These people are true athletes, no doubt about it, and probably a little insane.
As the race commenced I was in charge of cordinating all the media as they wanted vehicles to take them out on the race. A thrilling job, I know. It was great getting to meet and talk to all the media that came through here to capture this event. I was hoping I would get to ride on a motorcycle around the course at the end but we rean out of time as no vehicles are allowed on the runners course. Still a great day!
The winner came in after 8 hours and 34 minutes! Remarkable! A 3.8 km swim in and extremely choppy ocean, a 180 km bike against some winds of 52 km/hr, and a run of 42 km in a terrential downpoor. The weather conditions could not have been worse for the competitors today but they still managed to shine.
It’s almost 8 pm and I am still here in the office…. the race doesn’t officially end until midnight tonight when the time gets cut off. Can you imagine constant physical activity from 7am-midnight?! Insane.
Ironman is truly the world’s greatest test of endurance and strength, both physically and mentally. Through some of the worst weather conditions Ironman has ever seen, over 1300 people still finished the race. Truly remarkable.
This morning we had the post-race press conference that was quite interesting hearing about the weather conditions out on the course and how the pro’s dealt with it. Having challenges of their own they all commented on how incredible it was for so many amateurs to finish. Crazy people! But I managed to snag a few shots with the winners and the worlds strongest and physically fit people.
Top two males, and female winner
Runner up Cyril Viennot from France
The two winners on the outside and then the 4th place finisher for the females, Dianna. She was the only South African in the top 10 and it was her first Ironman competition as a pro.
Winner!!! Clemente, with his first Ironman win finishing with a time of 8:34:17. Incredible.
It’s been an incredible experience and allowed me to make many international media connections as well! I’ll be sad that it’s over but not missing the 4am wake up calls.
It was a job I truly enjoyed… maybe I’ll come back and work for Ironman South Africa?