Ironman has announced Standard Bank, ‘the largest bank in Africa’, as partner of the new Standard Bank Ironman African Championship, hosted in Nelson Mandela Bay. Ironman South Africa will be elevated to the regional championship race, scheduled to take place on 29 March 2015.
“The annual Ironman South Africa event in Nelson Mandela Bay has grown phenomenally over the last decade and the time has now come to take the event to the next stage of its long-term evolution,” said Keith Bowler, Managing Director of Ironman South Africa.
“To achieve that goal we couldn’t have asked for a better partner than Standard Bank, which through its global standing as Africa’s biggest bank as well as its Pan-African presence, will enable us to further enhance Ironman South Africa’s international standing and establish roots for growth into Africa.”
The partnership will give Standard Bank ‘first-class brand positioning’ at the annual Ironman event hosted in Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa, which involves a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike and 26.2-mile run. The partnership will involve all of Ironman’s African events – Ironman South Africa, Ironman 70.3 South Africa and the 5150 African Triathlon Series.
“Triathlon – and Ironman in particular – exemplifies all the qualities that Standard Bank stands for: hard work, dedication, endurance and a commitment to be in it for the long-haul,” said Ben Kruger, Chief Executive of Standard Bank Group. Speaking at the partnership launch at the Inanda Club in Johannesburg today, he added, “Ironman is a highly aspirational brand that encapsulates all the qualities that are universally admired – grit, determination, the desire to succeed and the will to inspire those around you.
“These factors, coupled with the phenomenal growth in triathlon and Ironman over the last few years, is why this partnership makes for a compelling brand awareness proposition.”
Participation in Ironman South Africa has grown from just 786 entrants in 2005 to 2,371 in 2014, a 202% increase over that time frame.
The biggest age group in the 2014 Ironman South Africa event was the 40-44 years segment, and almost half of all participants were first timers.
Participation in Ironman 70.3 South Africa triathlon has climbed from 864 entrants at the inaugural 2008 event to 2,926 entrants in the 2015 event, an increase of 239% since the event started.
The Standard Bank Ironman African Championship will have a US$150,000 professional prize purse and 75 qualifying age-group slots to the 2015 Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawai`i.
“Our research indicated that outside the major sports, much of the public interest was in running, swimming and cycling,” said Mr Kruger. “Ironman offers us a single entry point into all three of these sports. The quality of Ironman South Africa’s development program and the aspirational nature of the sport, which promotes a healthy, positive lifestyle, were also major points of attraction for Standard Bank.”