Flat course for Port Elizabeth leg of National Duathlon Series 2011 Victory will go to the fleet of foot rather than those with diesel engines or 4×4 skills as the R300,000 Momentum Health i-Flex National Duathlon Series heads to the tar of Port Elizabeth for what is arguably the fastest event in the six-stop Series. The absence of hills will also suit entrants of all fitness levels, making it a completely beginner-friendly event.
Organisers are expecting numbers to double on 2010 figures and urge entrants to enter online to avoid the usual morning rush so they can focus on having a great morning enjoying the crisp ocean air. Men’s series leader Brand du Plessis (PeptoSport) of Secunda says “I think it’s time for the road now after two off-road events in Johannesburg and Cape Town”. The soft-spoken Sasol technician finished a close second to duathlon specialist Richard Murray (Team BSG Elite), after a titanic lap-for-lap struggle on the first run and the mountain bike leg. “I’ve been training consistently and expect that PE will be a tough race,” said du Plessis. Main rival Murray, a dual citizen of Durbanville Hills, Cape Town and Pretoria, has been working hard with coach Lindsey Parry at Pretoria’s High Performance Centre. “My fitness levels are getting better and I’m keen for another great duathlon event in PE,” said the charismatic two-time World Junior duathlon champion.
“I think other quality events should use Pollock Beach. It has a great bike and run course! It is my last race on SA soil until after World Triathlon Champs in Bejing in September. Hopefully I will go out with a bang. Port Elizabeth looks to be another wonderful event, thanks to event sponsors Momentum Health, I-flex, Peptopro and Peptosport.” His U19 teammate Wian Sullwald is expected to put in a good showing against his peers too, as running is his strong discipline. The top contender in the women’s race, 2010 Series winner Andrea Steyn of Pretoria, is out of contention, recovering from surgery in April. With teammate Kate Roberts committed to World Cup triathlon events around the world, the contender for the top podium step is Carla van Huyssteen, despite the fact that she is recovering from recent illness. “I just came back from a very disappointing World Cross Triathlon Champs in Spain. I was ill all week and had to pull out of the race. Very frustrating but nothing I could do about it,” the bubbly Pretorian told us. “The PE venue is a super-fast course, the run is pancake flat and definitely offers PB (personal best) possibilities. The bike is nearly always windy and you must just keep your head down and keep pedalling! It’s a beautiful venue, with a good vibe,” she enthused.
Her strongest rival on the run will be Capetonian Alae Brand. “The PE race brings back good memories. The ‘Windy City’ can make racing circumstances tough but it has a warm heart and great atmosphere. I’m really looking forward to the race,” says the petite 25-old doctor from Durbanville.
EVENT STATS Visit the official National Duathlon Series website www.duathlon.co.za for more info