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Last Sunday morning, the resident’s of Big Bay were treated to world class triathlon racing as the first leg of the 2012 ELEVEN Triathlon Series got off to a picture perfect start in Cape Town, South Africa. 

With clear blue skies, Table Mountain and Robben Island  in the background, ELEVEN Cape Town is arguably the most picturesque and historic setting triathlon has to offer, and with a solid increase in participants from previous years, race organizers 11global couldn’t have been happier.

At 8:00am the Olympic distance triathletes were sent on their way into the Atlantic Ocean and with a water temperature of 14 degrees Celsius, wetsuits were the order of the day!

Male favorite Mark Threlfall (GBR) quickly asserted his dominance with a blistering swim of 18:01 and on the female side Dianne McEwan had an equally impressive swim of 20:17. 

On the bike there was no catching either of them as Threlfall maintained his lead, whilst McEwan added to hers.

Although Dan Howitz (RSA) and Bradley Weiss (RSA) chased hard on the run, Threlfall was not letting up and even Weiss’s blistering run of 32:47, was not enough to catch him, who came home comfortably three minutes ahead of Weiss with Howitz grabbing third.

McEwan maintained her dominance throughout and was followed home by solid efforts from Kathrin Walther (RSA) in second and Sarah Malherbe (RSA) in third.

Threlfall, who is currently training in South Africa was really pleased with his win. “It’s really great to win in South Africa and I look forward to defending my title next year”. 

The Sprint and Super Sprint triathletes started at 8:15am and with the Sprint distance incorporating the South African National Sprint Championships, the field included the best amateur triathletes in South Africa.  Each age group was hotly contested and all these athletes gave the large crowd on hand a fantastic display of physical prowess and sportsmanship.

In addition to their own triathlon ELEVEN Cape Town, 11global hosted the ITU African Sprint Cup which featured professional triathletes competing in the Sprint Distance. A strong field of international athletes gathered on the starting line at 7:00am and South Africa’s Richard Murray and Carlyn Fischer got their respective seasons off to an excellent start.

Denmark’s Jens Toft managed to breakaway and entered T2 with a 40-second lead, but he was soon chased down by the rest of the pack that was being led by Murray and Great Britain’s Tim Don. It didn’t take long for Murray to push to the front though and he stayed there to claim the win. The rest of the men’s podium was also filled with athletes on the rise, Russia’s Igor Polyanskiy kept up his impressive run with silver while South Africa’s Erhard Wolfaardt claimed the bronze.

Don, who is aiming to qualify for his fourth consecutive Olympic Games, finished 8th in his first race of 2012, while 2007 ITU World Champion Daniel Unger finished 5th.

In the women’s race, South Africa’s Mari Rabie was first out of the water, but not much separated the rest of the field in T1. Where the eventual medalists made their mark was in the bike leg, Fischer, Ricarda Lisk (GER), and Katrien Verstyft (BEL) recorded the three fastest times over the 20km course and were first into T2.

Fischer then put in a 17 minute and 59 second run to take the title and the South African National Sprint Championship, while Verstyft and Lisk held on for silver and bronze respectively.

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