Words: Caroline Koll | Photos: Chris Hitchcock
With a number of events on the South African triathlon calendar having been cancelled, it was with great excitement that the new TriRock events were received by the tri community.
It's been a long time since Durban hosted a triathlon of national attraction, at least not since the days of the Durban Ultra in the '90s. and It remains a mystery as to why Durban, with its great weather, warm ocean, and tourist attractions, would not host more international calibre triathlons? However, Durban is finally back on the tri map with the TriRock Durban triathlon, 113 km of pure triathlon pleasure, as well as a KidzRock 7.2 km triathlon (ages 5 to 16) and UrbanRock 22.4km short distance triathlon.
The events were held at the tail end of September, just before the start of the stifling Durban summer heat, so essentially perfect racing conditions. What is interesting to note is how Durban is cleaning up its act and once again resembling an ideal holiday and sporting destination. The TriRock triathlon was testament to this, attracting more than 400 athletes from all over the country for its first edition.
For those whose fear it was to tackle a 1.9 km swim in the rough and potentially shark-infested waters, they needn’t have worried, as the swim took place in the very calm waters just off the beautiful uShaka Marine World Beach. Though the swim was deemed wetsuit legal, the water temperatures were more than comfortable and the dodgy characters with their razor-sharp teeth were nowhere to be seen. Athletes were divided into start groups, which provided a far more amicable way to start the swim, rather than the more common single-mass argy-bargy.
The fabulous uShaka Marine World provided a fitting send-off from T1 and onto the rolling hills of the M4 for the 90 km bike leg. The road to Ballito, which was completely closed off to traffic, presented some exceptional views of the coastline, but also some challenging climbs.
The out and back course found its terminus at T2, stationed on the grounds of the Suncoast Casino, just a stone’s throw from the world-class Moses Mabida Stadium. Athletes were then treated to a resplendent 21.1 km run along the newly extended Durban beachfront promenade and through the underpass leading to the stadium.
The finish area provided a vibe not unlike that of international events, as well as excellent spectator viewing and close contact with the athletes. Of course the victories of Micheal Davidson in the Men’s race and Marinda Engelbrecht in the Women’s race were celebrated in style.
In short, the incredible TriRock party atmosphere is sure to be repeated in 2014. So, if you are looking for an alternative half Ironman distance race, with a reasonable price tag, then you certainly will not be disappointed with Durban’s very hot tri offering!
1. Micheal Davidson 04:06
2. Donovan van Gelder 04:11
3. Freddy Lampret 04:15
1. Marinda Engelbrecht 04:51
2. Marilyn Fischer 04:53
3. Lynette van der Merwe 04:54