Midmar Dam welcomed almost 1000 athletes to the FUTURE LIFE K-SWISS MIDLANDS ULTRA TRIATHLON that took place on March 6th. This event also doubled as the SA Long Course Triathlon Championships contested over a distance of a 1.9km swim, 90km bike and 21km run. The event got underway with the sprint event that catered for the short distance triathletes as well as those newcomers to the sport. Henri Schoeman from Team K-Swiss led from start to finish to dominate the race with a finish time of 59:06. Lauren Dance, one of the country’s finest u23 triathletes, won the ladies even in 1:11:23.
The Long Course Triathlon got underway once the sprint triathletes had exited the water with the masses of triathletes making their way into a pristine clear dam out in the KZN Midlands. Brad Storm and Glen Gore (Team K-Swiss), Kent Horner (Cyclelab/KTM) and newcomer Andrew o Flaherty (Team TriFactri) led the swimmers around the flat 1.9km course with Horner and Storm first out onto the bikes. Claire Horner lead the women out of the dam as the athletes headed out onto a 4 loop hilly and hot bike course. Storm and Horner shadowed each other for the entire 90km bike leg with Andre Booyens having the race of his life, in hot pursuit in 3rd place behind them. Claire Horner proceeded to lead the women on the bike section out front on her own with a chasing pack comprising Helen Buley, Sam Spong, Diane Emery and Natasha Gorrie-Nuttall trying to minimise the damage she was causing behind her.
Once off the bikes and onto the run, Kent Horner charged out of the transition zone with Brad Storm then taking an unfortunate wrong turn during the early part of the run course. This gave Horner the cushion he was looking for over his nearest pursuers and he coasted to overall victory and the South African Long Course Triathlon Title in 4:13:22. Andre Booyens held his race plan together and crossed the line in his best overall finish ever in 4:25:39. Gerhard De Bruin (3rd last year) repeated his performance to round out the last podium spot in 4:28:12.
The ladies race was equally exciting with Claire Horner running consistently over the gruelling and hot 21km run course to cross the line in 4:44:15. She was followed almost 5 minutes later by Natasha Gorrie-Nuttall in 4:48:55. Diane Emery claimed 3rd spot for herself only 40 seconds back of Gorrie-Nuttall in 4:49:36