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Fri 18th Jun 2021
Ironman South Africa preview
Posted by: John Levison
Posted on: Tuesday 5th April 2016

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Can Great Britain's elite women repeat their 2015 podium sweep at Ironman South Africa?

Swallow, Gossage and Cheetham return for 2016 IRONMAN African Championship

When Susie Cheetham crossed the finish line on Marine Drive, right next to Hobie Beach in Port Elizabeth last year at Ironman South Africa, it was a marquee day for British long distance racing. That was the first time, outside of our home Ironman UK, that British athletes have filled all three positions on an international full-distance Ironman® podium. To do that at one of the Ironman Championship races is further evidence, not that it is really needed, of their quality. Given that all three have finished in the top ten at the Ironman World Championships over the last two editions, Great Britain really does have incredible strength-in-depth within women's long distance triathlon.

Susie, along with the two athletes who finished ahead of her last year, Jodie Swallow and Lucy Gossage, will be aiming for success once again this Sunday. We had hoped to be seeing Corinne Abraham joining that trio, but unfortuntely injury has meant a late withdrawal for the winner of Ironman Cozumel.

2015 Podium - Ironman South Africa, Nelson Mandela Bay

Pos Men Women
1st Frederik van Lierde (BEL) 8:16:35 Jodie Swallow (GBR) 9:26:56
2nd Ivan Rana (ESP) 8:30:45 Lucy Gossage (GBR) 9:31:20
3rd Bart Aernouts (BEL) 8:35:59 Susie Cheetham (GBR) 9:33:02

There are some changes this year to the course in Port Elizabeth, which organisers are suggesting may give rise to faster times, though given that the two loop bike course is now almost entirely coastal, the wind will be a major factor in that.

Jodie Swallow, Lucy Gossage, Susie Cheetham
All images ©Richard Melik /

How good are this trio? We'll let the numbers do the talking in this alternative 'preview':

Jodie Swallow
Lucy Gossage
Susie Cheetham
Ironman South Africa
2015 - 1st
2014 - 3rd
2013 - 2nd
2015 - 2nd
2014 - 2nd
2015 - 3rd
Ironman® wins
South Africa 2015
Kalmar 2013
UK 2015
Wales 2014
UK 2013
Lanzarote 2013
None (yet...)
Ironman® podiums
First Ironman® podium
South Africa 2013 (2nd)
UK 2013 (1st)
Barcelona 2014 (3rd)
Fastest iron-distance time
8:54:01 (Kalmar 2013)
8:58:43 (Barcelona 2012*)
9:03:32 (Barcelona 2014)
Highest Kona finish
4th (2014)
10th (2015)
6th (2015)
Last Ironman® race
Kona 2015 (DNF)
New Zealand 2016 (2nd)
Kona 2015 (6th)
Ironman 70.3 World Champs
2010 - 1st
2014 - 2nd
2007 - 7th (AG 25-29)
2015 - 7th

(* Challenge Barcelona)

And the British Pro Men...

Earlier this year I interviewed Stephen Bayliss while out in Lanzarote, and Stephen was set to return to the venue at which he won his first Ironman race in 2008. However, he's decided not to make the trip following a flu bug and instead put his efforts into being fully prepared for Ironman Lanzarote next month.

That leaves Oliver Simon as the sole British male professional racing. Oliver had a great end to 2015, breaking the long-standing Welsh Ironman record at Ironman Barcelona. Perennial winner of his home town 'Long Course Weekend' in Tenby, Oliver has been training hard over the winter and recently set a half marathon PB. "My goals have been to get in the mix and have a solid marathon at the end, this will put me in or near the top 10 and I would be delighted with that result".

You can view the full professional start list HERE.

Prize Money (P-4000 points status, $150k total)


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