On Sunday 9 December the annual FNB Desert Triathlon gets under way in Swakopmund, Namibia. This is the 26th year that the triathlon has taken place. The event is hosted by Otb Sport, sponsored by FNB Namibia and the event’s technical sponsor is PUMA.
Event organiser Otb Sport said it was expecting a number of competitive South African triathletes in the FNB Desert Triathlon 2012 Ultra event. The Ultra event consists of a 1.9K swim, 90K bike and 21K run.
Current titleholder, Paddy Murphy, who is consistently Namibia’s top long distance triathlete, will need to dig extra deep to stay ahead of the pack. From South Africa comes a challenge from triathlete, Glen Gore – 12 x SA Elite Champion and current coach and manager of the ASG Pro Team.
Other athletes venturing to Namibia include South African Bradley Venter; and Raoul de Jongh who is the first age group South African to have qualified for the Ironman 70.3, Ironman and XTERRA World Championships.
Otb Sport said it was very pleased with the South African and international turn-out. “Namibia has a limited market for triathletes,” said Race Organiser Yvonne Brinkmann. “It is essential to grow the event beyond Namibia’s borders if we want to make this one of the prime sport events on the Namibia coast.
“International competition is excellent for our local triathletes. We see many of our triathletes now visiting international destinations to get better experience, often leaving out local events as the competition is not good enough. We hope seeing foreigners at our start lines will be a huge motivating factor to take this sport to a higher level.”
The race takes place at Mole beach in Swakopmund, starting with a sea swim of either 400m, 1200m or 1900m depending on the event entered. This is followed by the bike route that heads straight onto the C34 desert road. This road is smooth and fast, excellent for cycling with very little traffic.
Athletes will have the huge Namib dunes on one side and the varying scenery of the Namib Desert on the other. As the morning progresses the wind picks up, making the return journey slightly harder, or easier, than the outbound leg, depending on which way the wind blows!
The cycle route is 20K, 40K or 90K depending on the category. The run start is at the Mole and is a figure 8 loop running along the beach to the Tiger Reef and back past the start and out to Vineta. The distance of each loop is 7K. Triathletes either do the 4K, 10K or 21K depending on the race category entered.
There will be N$37,000 worth of prizes distributed. In the competitive Ultra Male category, first place will receive cash of N$4000, 2nd N$3000 and 3rd N$2000. There will also be a combination of cash prizes and OTB vouchers in other categories. The first 200 odd entries receive a PUMA running shirt.
Besides the increasingly popular Ultra event there are two other events, the Standard distance (1K swim; 40K bike; 10K run) and a Sprint (400m swim; 20K bike; 4K run). Participants have option of doing events as an individual or in teams.