Ironman 70.3 Durban took place on Sunday, 2nd August on Durban’s Golden Mile in KwaZulu-Natal and offered athletes the chance to compete in one of the world’s toughest triathlons. Taking first place, Stuart Marais raced to victory after completing the gruelling 1.9 km swim, 90 km bike ride and 21.1 km run.
The 70.3 is known as a ‘half Ironman’, as each distance of the swim, bike, and run segments is half the distance of that of a full Ironman triathlon. The Durban 70.3 was part of a series of Ironman challenges across the world, that all culminate in the final World Championship taking place at the end of August in Zell um See in Austria.
We took a few moments to chat to Stuart about his victory, training and what it means to have gotten this far:
RSAWEB: Stuart, thank you for taking the time to chat to us. Can you tell us how it feels to have won Ironman 70.3 Durban 2015?
Stuart: I am very excited about winning the inaugural 70.3 Durban. I have been working really hard in the build up to the event and it is fantastic that I was able to bring home the win.
RSAWEB: What part of your training regime do you think helped the most for the actual race?
Stuart: To win a 70.3 these days, you need to have all 3 triathlon disciplines at the very best of your individual ability. That said, I have spent some decent time working on my bike, and as it turned out on Sunday, this is where I really took control of the race.
RSAWEB: When/at what part of the race did you know that you were going to win?
Stuart: At the final turn-around point of the bike I could see that my lead was substantial. I did not ease off on the pressure, but felt confident that it was my race to lose. Being in control of a race from start to finish is great for my confidence leading up to World Championships later this month.
RSAWEB: Describe how you felt at the start line…
Stuart: My last 70.3 race was in January, after a pretty hectic start to the year that forced me to take a couple of weeks away from racing. This time I arrived in Durban rearing and ready to race.
RSAWEB: What was the highlight of the day?
Stuart: I really enjoyed the ocean swim. Durban surf can get pretty rough. I really enjoy sea swimming as it’s neutralises the strongest swimmers and creates an even playing field.
RSAWEB: Which discipline is your favourite? Running/Swimming/Cycling?
Stuart: I love running, but my favourite discipline at the moment is the bike. My Swift Neurogen is really comfortable and I am confident in my ability at the moment.
RSAWEB: What was the lowest part of the day?
Stuart: There is no real low point, winning a major 70.3 race has just too many great highlights.
RSAWEB: What was the biggest surprise of the day? Did your race plan work or did you end up doing something different?
Stuart: Every single race is different and more often than not your initial race plan never goes according to plan. I stuck to my guns and in doing so was able to take the lead and keep it from early on in the race. My body was healthy and I felt great all day.
RSAWEB: Who did you feel was going to be your biggest competition?
Stuart: I felt that Travis Johnston might have been closer to me on the day, but I was happy to see youngster Rudolf Naude make his mark in 70.3 racing. It was also great to see Michael Davidson on his first 70.3 podium spot.
RSAWEB: When is the next race?
Stuart: I have qualified for the 70.3 World Championship which is on 30th August in Zell am See, Austria.
RSAWEB: Do you have any tips for aspiring Ironman athletes?
Stuart: Build fitness over time, don’t rush your body into fatigue.
RSAWEB: How has the RSAWEB sponsorship helped you to achieve your goals?
Stuart: RSAWEB has been with me from the beginning, and we have built a really close relationship over the years. I value their contribution to my success immensely and I hope to continue working closely with my now, RSAWEB friends, in building both of our brands to greater heights in SA in future years.
Without people like Rob Gilmour and Mark Slingsby (RSAWEB’s MDs), my opportunity to race at this level would not have been possible.
RSAWEB: What did you do to celebrate the win?
Stuart: I am enjoying all the hype around the race, but to celebrate the win I like to relax with my family and enjoy these simple pleasures that our blessed lives in South Africa have to offer.
Here are a few more articles we have written about Stuart Marais and Ironman 70.3:
Stuart Marais shares his expertise on how to train for Ironman 70.3.
An interesting read on how to apply the Ironman Mindset to Business.