SOUTH African triathletes Gerhard de Bruin and his partner Corinne Berg won gold medals at the FNB Desert Ultra Triathlon in Swakopmund on Sunday.
De Bruin won the Individual Male Elite category of the gruelling event, that consisted of a 1,9km swim, a 90km cycle and a 21km run in an excellent time of 4 hours, 17 minutes and 20 seconds, to finish just over a minute ahead of compatriot Bradley Venter, who came second in 4:18,23.
Another South African, Raoul de Jongh, won the bronze medal in a time of 4:27:12.
De Bruin was delighted with his victory.
“It was a tough race; Bradley Venter and I were neck and neck on the bike route. We were pushing it. The salt-treated desert road was a first for me and made this a unique event – I don’t think there is a triathlon in the world that has a bike route on a road like this. I had a great run.I managed to make a lead on Bradley and hold it. I am very happy with my run time,” De Bruin said after the race.
Venter said he enjoyed the great battle with De Bruin.
“The swim was a tough battle as I lost the leading pack on the second lap so I ended up swimming hard on the last two laps to close in on the leaders. After the transition I managed to catch the guys on the start of the salt road, and this led to a great tussle between myself and Gerhard, as we regularly exchanged the lead over the full 90km of the ride. This really opened up the gap between us and third position,” he said.
“We both entered the transition from the bike to the running leg together, but Gerhard opened a small lead that he maintained for the full 21km. Every time I tried to close in on him, he managed to retaliate and reopen the gap. Overall we had a great race together,” he added.
Corinne Berg won the Individual Female Elite category in 4:55:58, to finish comfortably ahead of compatriots Irene Steyn (5:33:12) and Adele de la Rey (5:52:15).
The legendary South African triathlete Glen Gore won the Male 40 Plus category in 4:36:05, with Namibia’s Paddy Murphy coming second in 4:51:05 and Russell Nugent third in 4:52:02,
A total of 25 individuals, four male and six female teams completed the ultra event.
Another South African, Philip Steyn, won the Individual Male category of the Standard Triathlon, consisting of a 1km swim, 40km cycle and 10km run in 2:13:38.
Namibia’s Mirko Maier came second in 2:16:21, while Borja Romero came third in 2:25:03.
Megan le Roux won the Individual Female Open event in 2:43:05, followed by Nicola Theron (2:46:26) and Berrit Graf (2:57:41).
Peter Brinkmann won the Individual Male Elite category of the Sprint Triathlon, which consisted of a 400m swim, a 20km cycle and a 4km run, in 1:10:42.
Marco Triebner came second in 1:11:50, while Eghardt Brand came third in 1:15:49.
The triathlon was well attended with 67 individual triathletes completing their respective categories while 35 teams completed their events.