X-DIRT event lives up to its name
Due to the inclement weather, Sunday morning’s (March 2) X-DIRT Triathlon & Duathlon Challenge at Roodeplaat Dam, just outside Pretoria, lived up to the events name with most of the competitors finishing soaked and covered in mud.
This was not a problem for most athletes however, as the conditions, cool without any wind and some light drizzle, was still good for racing and produced some good times in both the triathlon and duathlon sections.
Showing his class to win the men’s on road duathlon section (2.5km run, 20km cycle and 5km run) in 58:18 was Ruan Botes of Hatfield while Cobus Kruger of Northcliff was also impressive completing the 600m swim, 20km cycle and 5km run in a time of 1:00:03 to take top honours in the men’s on road triathlon division.
The off road men’s duathlon and triathlon races were won by Jason Tee of Kensington (1:17:53) and Colin Brent (1:16:01) of Polokwane respectively.
The star amongst the women athletes was the well travelled middle and long distance athlete and coach, Olga Firsova. The diminutive blonde who was born in Estonia and stayed in Russia, the Czech Republic and Bermuda before settling in Menlo Park, Pretoria outgunned the rest of the female field to be the first women over the line winning the on road women’s duathlon division in 1:06:41.
Witbank’s Charné Prinsloo, who won the junior women’s triathlon division (16-19) in the first X-Dirt Challenge event in December last year, showed that although she only recently turned 20 she can compete with the more seasoned athletes on the circuit and won the women’s on road triathlon section in a time of 1:07:50.
Another Witbank athlete, Marlette Smit collected the gold medal as winner of the off road women’s triathlon race after she finished in 1:19:35 with Izaan de Jager of Pretoria the first prize winner in the off road duathlon for women after completing her race in 1:27:53.
While the above athletes all excelled it was a few juniors, siblings, Bradley and Jessica Alcock of Lynwoodridge, Jodie Berry of Roodepoort and Ruan van Zyl of Tygerspoort who were the stars of the day. Not only did they win their respective divisions in the 16-19 age categories but they also recorded times which were as good as, if not better, than most of the senior athletes competing in the event.
The Alcocks competed in the on road duathlon section with Bradley winning the boys section in a time of 1:07:25, while his 17-year-old sister Jessica, who is the 2013 SA Junior Mountain Bike Champion and SA and Africa U/17 Duathlon Champ, taking gold in the girls division in a time of 1:12:39.
In the on road triathlon race Van Zyl (16), who has his sights set on competing in the Youth Olympics in Nanjing, China in August, was in devastating form crossing the line in 1:02:10, a mere two minutes behind senior race winner, Kruger.
Berry (18), who competed in Hungary, Turkey and also came 38th at the World Junior Triathlon Championships in London last year, was just as impressive finishing her 600m swim, 20km cycle and 5km run in 1:07:32 to be the first female triathlete over the line, recording even a better time than senior winner, Charné Prinsloo.
These results certainly bode well for the future of the sport and the senior athletes will have to watch these youngsters at the next X-DIRT Triathlon & Duathlon Challenge event at Buffelspoort Dame on Sunday, March 30 and the final event of the competition, taking place at Heron Banks Golf & River Estate, Vanderbijlpark on Sunday, April 6.
Triathletes and duathletes who wish to compete in these races can enter online at www.xdirt.co.za with pre-entry costing R290 (including TSA day license fee & excluding timing chip hire) for individuals and R580 per team. Late entries will be accepted on race day from 6am at an increased fee of R310 (individuals) and R620 (teams). TSA members can participate at R240 (pre-entry) and R260 (late entry).