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Hot first event in National Duathlon Series

Monday, 05 March 2012

The endless undulations in the Kameelfontein area outside Pretoria are enough to deter most from contemplating recreational cycling, let alone racing. The gradients and even the addition of heat and gradually increasing winds didn't deter a hardy tribe known as duathletes from competing at the first event in the Momentum Health i-Flex National Duathlon Series 2012 powered by PeptoPro.

Three separate races starting and finishing at Kameelfontein Primary School catered for everyone from pre-primary school to adults over 50.

A turnout in excess of 400 was evidence of the major increase in interest in the sport of duathlon over the past five years.

Men's Open race

Three athletes showed their running talent clearly in the 5km opening run. Seasoned triathlete Erhard Wolfaardt told us he ran his own pace. “I paced myself but pushed hard up a little hill at the 2.5km turnaround which split the field,” he said. This had the effect of dropping everyone except 2010 Youth Olympics top 10 finisher Wian Sullwald (BSG Elite), duathlon specialist Jason Spong and four-time Series winner Brand du Plessis (PeptoSport).

Spong dropped off the pace at the 4km mark and this left just the top three with a clear lead over their rivals into transition. No-one planned to use T1 better than Wolfaardt: “I had a good T1 transition and got out onto the bike course clear of the other guys, but Brand and Wian caught me at the five kay mark. We worked together for the rest of the 40km to keep our lead.”

Behind them a group of three riders, Spong, Wikus Weber and Rudolf Naude worked just as hard to stay ahead of a big chase group consisting of among others, Donovan van Gelder, David Labuschagne and Wilhelm Steyn. After 20km, the top three had a minute's lead on the chasers but the third group was closing down the second. When the chasing group caught the Spong/Weber/Naude group, they didn't plan to stick around until the run. It wasn't very long before the stronger riders in this group, Sullwald and van Gelder, made their move on the grueling climbs and left the others for dead.

In a short distance race like the Series' 5km run/40km bike and final 2.5km run, it was always going to favour the runner with the best speed endurance and highest pain threshold on the day. Wolfaardt sprinted out of T2 with eight second's lead on Sullwald and du Plessis. This buffer put all the pressure on his chasers and more so when he cranked up the speed for the first kilometre. They just could not close the gap.

On the finish mat, Wolfaardt's all-or-nothing pace had gained him 40 seconds on du Plessis, who had managed to hold off Sullwald by 20 seconds.

Wolfaardt's win is his second road duathlon win in the Series in two years: he also won the Potch race last year. In fourth place, U23 triathlete and Africa Cup bronze medallist Rudolf Naude (Future Life) finished 1:48 ahead of evergreen veteran Donovan van Gelder of Durban.

Van Gelder, with over 25 years of racing under his belt, was full of praise for the event: “This was a great start to the Series. I am amazed at the turnout. Today was a really strong field, a lot of good road triathletes taking part.”

Men top 10

1. Erhard Wolfaardt
2. Brand du Plessis
3. Wian Sullwald
4. Rudolf Naude
5. Donovan van Gelder
6. Jason Spong
7. Chris Felgate
8. Dawid Janse van Rensburg
9. David Labuschagne
10. Wikus Weber

Full Results 

Women's Open race

Last weekend was a big one for women's multisport as Carla van Huyssteen (inov-8) held off a challenge from Austrian XTERRA specialist Carina Wasle at the XTERRA Sa Championships at Grabouw outside Cape Town.

In Brazil, at the elite Fast Triathlon event, Team South Africa, consisting of Andrea Steyn (BSG Elite), Carlyn Fischer (inov-8) and Vicky van der Merwe (BSG Elite) took on a potent trio from the USA and after three races had gained a six-point advantage, to beat the USA and another four national teams.

With three of the four racing the Duathlon Series event, the outcome was keenly anticipated.

The first run answered the questions: the sprint triathlon had taken a lot less out of the legs of Steyn and Fischer, while van Huyssteen was nowhere near her running ability after XTERRA.

Steyn and Fischer entered T1 together, helped each other on the hilly 40km and came into T2 with just a second between them, Fischer leading Steyn. The more experienced Steyn had a lightning-fast changeover and left T2 with a two-second advantage.

Now there was another question in the ladies' race: Would Fischer be able to catch and pass Steyn?

The answer at the finish tape was: No.

Steyn finished with a clear 27-second lead over Fischer.

Van Huyssteen in third had dropped even further back, but had kept a buffer of 80 seconds over next individual woman, North-West University's Minette Bell, in fourth and adventure racer / trail runner Susan Sloan in fifth.

Women Top 10

1. Andrea Steyn
2. Carlyn Fischer
3. Carla Van Huyssteen
4. Minette Bell
5. Susan Sloan
6. Anna Haw
7. Maria Ortega
8. Riana de Lange
9. Carla van der Merwe
10. Lizanne Hattingh

Full Results:
Enter the next race: 

Last year's Momentum Health i-Flex National Duathlon Series, powered by PeptoPro, was the most successful in its four-year history. It's back for a fifth season and all indications point to a bigger and better experience for hundreds of competitors nationally. Total prizemoney is set at more than R300,000 for the Series.

In 2012, the National Duathlon Series, Africa's largest and richest duathlon, plans to take its reputation for providing slick organisation, exceptional value for money and the safest venues available, to another level. The race continues to be powered by both Momentum Health's HealthReturns plan and the leading technology of PeptoSport and i-Flex, two products highly regarded by discerning endurance athletes for energy and protein replacement as well as joint care.

This year's race is different in that timing will be handled by Mr Price Sport, meaning results will be available even faster than before. Working with a professional photographic company will ensure high-quality photos will be available for sale online to all competitors.

For more information, visit .
Direct link to entry portal:  

Momentum Health members earn up to R5,400 in HealthReturns. Visit  for more, or  on your cellphone.

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