ITU Cape Town - a first for Africa

Words: Eunice Visage ǀ Photos: ITU World Triathlon Series 

When the ITU World Triathlon Series visits Cape Town at the end of April, it will be the first time this series comes to Africa.

Photo credit: ITU World Triathlon Series 

The World Triathlon Cape Town race will serve as the second stop on the eight-city tour. “We have been working to secure a WTS event in Africa for a long time,” said ITU President and IOC Member Marisol Casado. "We are very excited to bring our fast-paced, action-packed style of racing there. The location is an ideal spot for premium racing, and will also serve as an important development tool for all of Africa.”

All the action is taking place on Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 April 2014, with the women racing on Saturday and the men on Sunday. In-between, there will be some age group competitions, a great opportunity for all triathletes and lovers of the sport to get involved. Entries are already open for the Sprint and Olympic distance for individuals and teams.

Locals fans can look forward to seeing super athletes like the leading local ladies of Kate Roberts and Gill Sanders, who will be up against legends such as Non Stanford and Jodie Stimpson from Britain, Anne Haug from Germany, and American Gwen Jorgensen. Then there's the British Brownlee brothers of Alastair and Jonathan, and Spaniards Javier Gomez and Mario Mola, who will battle it out against our very own Richard Murray, Henri Schoeman and Wian Sullwald, in our front yard so to speak.

Murray (25) has been South Africa’s leading triathlete for the past few years and he will be our big hope for a place on the podium. Murray finished the 2013 season as the fifth best triathlete in the world, behind Gomez, Jonathan Brownlee, Mola and Alastair Brownlee. Gomez is the current world champion and Alastair Brownlee won the 2012 London Olympics.

Murray will have lots of local support. “I don’t have any expectations as of yet. I am just happy to be racing in front of family and friends. A podium is what I’m constantly in search of in the WTS events, so everyone can be sure I shall be flogging myself out there!”

According to Murray, the ITU World Triathlon Series coming to Cape Town has the potential to be a watershed moment for the sport in South Africa.

“It is going to mean so much for the growth of triathlon in South Africa. Sponsors are going to get some much-needed exposure as well. It is great that youngsters will be able to see the world’s stars in action, and racing in front of family and friends is always special. This event is going to do wonders for the country and Cape Town. Triathlon is a small sport compared to the big three (rugby, cricket and soccer); hopefully this will give the sport some good coverage. It is one of the best sports for the body because it is low impact, and you can participate in a team as well.” He added that the international athletes are excited about the prospect of racing in Cape Town. “Many are super keen, and they will love it. Our country has so much to offer. Many of them have already asked about the course."

Photo credit: ITU World Triathlon Series 

The heart of the event will be the Race Village, hosted at the Look Out Venue at the V&A Waterfront, which will feature a lifestyle expo and will contain grand stands from where the public has a clear view of the finish line. “South Africans are passionate about sport, and will be very excited to have another world-class, premium sporting event to add to their active lifestyles,” said Bruce Parker-Forsyth, CEO of the local delivery partner WORLDSPORT.

Race organisers have proposed a two-lap 1,500 m swim within the V&A Waterfront, followed by a scenic eight-lap 40 km bike ride along Beach Road, and a four-lap 10 km run with constant ocean views for the Elites. 

Age groupers will have the option to choose between a standard Olympic distance course or hone their speed skills on a sprint course. Standard and sprint distance team relays are also on the schedule, offering a race for all abilities. In addition to the competitions, athletes will be treated to a weekend full of festivities, including that of concerts and a race exhibition, as well as kids and family races. 

“The World Triathlon Series is an exciting multi-city global series, where athletes earn points throughout the season for a chance to be crowned the ITU Triathlon World Champion at the Grand Final,” said Lagardère Unlimited Events AG's CEO, Christian Toetske. “Every 2014 WTS event will feature age-group races, with all Elite Women's and Men's races broadcast live to an international audience in more than 160 countries, as well as streamed online live. Equally importantly, these events give the public an opportunity to compete on a World Triathlon Series stage.”

“We are proud to see Cape Town, South Africa - indeed Africa - added to the World Series calendar,” said Debbie Alexander, President of Triathlon South Africa. “This event will contribute to the continued growth of triathlon not only in South Africa but Africa.”


Olympic Distance Individual
1.5 km swim; 40 km bike; 10 km run
Year of birth 1996 or older
Men or women

Olympic Distance Team
1.5 km swim; 40 km bike; 10 km run
Year of birth 1998 or older
Men and women, mixed

Sprint Distance Individual
500 m swim; 20 km bike; 5 km run
Year of birth 1998 or older
Men or women

Sprint Distance Team
500 m swim; 20 km bike; 5 km run
Year of birth 2002 or older
Men and women, mixed

ITU World Triathlon Series 2014

5-6 April: Auckland, New Zealand
26-27 April: Cape Town, South Africa
17-18 May: Yokohama, Japan
31 May-1 June: London, England
27-29 June: Chicago, USA
12-13 July: Hamburg, Germany
23-24 August: Stockholm, Sweden
26 August-1 September: Edmonton, Canada