On Sunday 6th of June the Embark athletes took on the Ironman 70.3 Durban event. This was the 1st Ironman event in South Africa since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the country. Some of the athletes have been training for over 18 months to complete their first Ironman 70.3, so there was much trepidation leading up to this event as we were nervous and excited about the event happening.
It happened!! And as usual, it was a world class event. On pre race day, we had registration and racking but this was done according to your age group. The day before the race is always a busy day prepping for the race. As a team we all met in the early morning to do a race prep swim to test our wet suits and have a swim in the warmer Indian Ocean. Once this was done we had our team photo and breakfast at the hotel. We then changed into race kit and met on the red carpet by the finishers arch and rode the run route. This gives the athletes a good idea of what to expect on the run the following day. It also gives us an opportunity to do last minute checks on our kit and our equipment.
Race day morning was different from usual years. We started racing according to our age groups and the younger guys setting off 1st before the next group was led through transition for final checks and then into the race pens to be held before they started their swim. We had good sea conditions for the swim and the wind slowly started to pick up through the morning while we were on the bike course. The bike course is rolling but it's a beautiful smooth surface and the riding is fast and furious. Once the 90 kilometres on the bike we're done the athletes set off on their run to complete the half marathon. The Durban promenade is always a hustle of active people, surfing, skating, walking dogs and eating ice creams which makes for a nice distraction while slogging through the run course. Finishing the run on the red carpet and being announced in by Paul and Gordon is the highlight of the race. The feeling of finishing and knowing that you have completed that course is a thrill to hold onto.
The #RedandBlackArmy had 48 athletes at the race and all 48 athletes completed the course and got their medal. It was an amazing day with some amazing results. We had four athletes finishing on the podium, we had countless first timers receiving medals and we had a handful of athletes completing four or more half Ironman. Congratulations to the coaches for making a real impact on the athletes and getting them over the line to achieve their goals. Embark is not just a triathlon training program, it builds communities of people that train and socialize together in a fun and low pressure environment.