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Steyn steps up in EL

A record number of athletes will line up for the 70.3 Half-Ironman triathlon in East London this weekend, writes Mark Etheridge.

The event has seen a sizable growth in the last four years ÔÇô in 2008 864 entries were received, that number grew to 1275 and last year 1731 took up the challenge.

This weekend sees the final entry figure list at 1824 from 22 different countries. Distances involved are a 1.9 kilometre ocean swim, followed by a 90km cycle and rounded off with a 21.1km half-marathon.

Winners last year were both foreigners, Belgium’s Frederick van Lierde and Britain’s Jodie Swallow.

Race records belong to Rynard Tissink (4hr 02min 04sec in 2009) while Stellenbosch’s Mari Rabie is quickest woman with her 4:35:54 two years ago.

Last year Van Lierde stopped the clock in 4:06:30 while Swallow came home in 4:39:19.

One talented competitor hoping to make her mark is Pretoria’s Andrea Steyn. She dominated the recent BSG-Energade Series last year, winning all seven races and now faces a new challenge.

“I’ll be doing my first ever ‘long distance triathlon,” Steyn told Road to London 2012. “I’m very excited to race on Sunday. It will be unfamiliar territory for me but I just want to enjoy the experience…no pressure┬áon me though.

“I struggled throughout December with my calf injury┬áso was not able to do as much running as I wanted to do. But like I said… just there to enjoy and get experience for hopefully many more Half Ironman┬áraces to come!”


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