Race Report - Durban 70.3 by Cindy Toms

Congrats to all MTD athletes who finished the inaugural Durban 70.3. What a great venue!

Well done to the following Age group athletes on their podium spots:

Monique Janse van Rensburg 1st

Monica Roode 1st

Richard Lawrie 2nd

Terry Todd 2nd

And also to those athletes who qualified for World Champs in Australia next year – Herschel Jawitz & Mauritz Erasmus


Enjoy Cindy’s race report….





Having completed my first Ironman 70.3 in East London in January 2015, I said never again!! After that cycle into a headwind, crosswind, all winds, I said no way……… Then Ironman 70.3 Durban was announced, with some keen MTD’ers signing up within the first week of entries opening, I still said no way! A few months of haphazard training with no goal in sight, and some MTD training friends, dropping hints, I finally entered. Back to a program and winter training. My biggest fear has always been the sea swim and everyone said “it’s never going to be as bad as East London”……. errrrr wrong!!!

We headed up to Durban on the Friday and got there in time to register and go to the expo, a little disappointing as the merchandise wasn’t that great, and being the shopper that I am, I came away with nothing!! The banners were up around the casino area and there were lots of people walking around with looks of fear and anticipation on their faces as this race had one of the biggest fields of novices.

Saturday was the group swim, and we went down to the beach to meet all the MTD crew. In we went and the waves and current were so strong, we just couldn’t get out beyond the breakers (which I have now renamed dunkers). There was also a sand bank you had to get over and fight through more dunkers. Everytime you came up for air another wave would come and smash over you! The practise sessions at Muizenberg with coach Jayne, really helped but only slightly prepared you for these waves. We eventually got out and got to the buoy, and swam back, trying to body surf with one arm as Claire taught us, but failure again as I was dunked. G took me out again and this time, it was a little easier. Race briefing was held in an open air amphitheatre and the bike and run course looked pretty straight forward. We went to bike check in and everything was very well organised and worked like clockwork, bike racked, run bag racked……… Ok, I can do this!!

Race day…….. We headed down to the transition area to check bikes, put nutrition down etc, and walked down to the beach. There was a lot of MTD support with training friends who had entered early on but were injured and couldn’t race, so they still came down to support. They implemented a rolling wave start where you seeded yourself according to swim time and then let in 10 at a time to prevent the swimming over each other and panic. I really liked it, as it reduced the stress and anxiety. I seeded myself at the 50 min swim time, and as the pen moved closer and closer to the start, I got more and more nervous. Then it was our turn…… In we went and the current and rip was just as strong…. I heard someone say…. “Are we ever going to get out???” PANIC!!!! I can’t do this, I can’t get out!!! Fellow MTD training partner Estie heard me and said “C’mon, just go, of course we can get out!!!”. That was all I needed and kept going. Once past the dunkers, we reached the first buoy and the back line but the current was so strong, it kept pushing you out towards the shark nets!!! I kept swimming and trying to swim back towards the shore as I kept thinking that I was going to get stuck in the shark nets and become Chinese take away for the sharks!! A few other swimmers started to panic and I tried to remain calm and encourage them to keep going, but a few got out, and were in tears. I chatted to a few lifeguards and asked them to stay on my right so I didn’t swim to the shark nets, which they did. I then made another friend, and we kept encouraging each other, ok, 20 strokes and we can stop, so we kept going, and before we knew it we were at the last turnaround buoy. Now to head to shore. I could hear G saying keep an eye behind you when you come in and catch the waves……. As I headed back in, I kept looking back and the waves were getting bigger and bigger, they were mahusive!!!! I was close to shore, but the waves were crashing us down, every time I came up for air, I looked behind me and the waves were coming. Someone said “now the fun begins!!” I wanted to cry!!! I think he saw the fear in my eyes as they were no longer small and slit but wide as saucers, and he said “Just SWIM!!!” So that’s what I tried to do and was close enough for the lifeguards to help us out. I got thrown a plastic buoy and I yelled to the lifeguard, “get me out!! get me out!!” he told me to hold onto the buoy, and as I did, i looked behind me and was about to get dunked again!! I went under waiting for it to wash over me, and came up gasping for air, and yet another wave and another! The last wave I pushed up from the ground and then cramp!! Glute and calf!!! Bugger!!! Ok, just get out, just get out!! I got out the swim and was so relived to be on shore. MTD friends Annemarie, Gareth & Brent were waiting and shouting for me at exit, but I was so exhausted and in such a foul mood, I think I scowled and perhaps let a few choice words out……

Got to transition and thought, ok, that’s over, let’s enjoy the cycle. Glute still cramping but thought it would ease up on the cycle. It held out for about 20km and then lame…… I caught up to fellow MTD’er Estie and said, "C’mon!!! Let’s go!!!" And she did!! She left me in her dust!!! The course was relatively flat compared to the hills we ride in Cape Town and was quite fast. I chatted to a few random people along the way and managed to say hi to a few MTD’ers, but the last loop was into the wind and pretty tough. As I got to transition the referee said to me, “did you enjoy it?” I replied, yes, but my “butt is sore…..” he replied, “I’d love to help but I’m married!” That put a smile on my face and it was on to the run. As I came out I heard my name and looked up, Sean was there cheering me on and that really helped to keep me going. 5km in and calf cramp……. Sigh, guess still from the swim. I saw G & Annemarie, running along to keep me going and it made all the difference. The route along the promenade was flat and really nice as we ran among people just enjoying the promenade and they were also cheering us on. I saw many MTD’ers on course, and that really helped lift my spirits to keep on going. It was really hot and I kept on drinking at each aid station which resulted in 4 toilet stops……. And no I didn’t fix my hair at every one, only the last one. I made a friend on the last 7km and we kept each other going, agreeing which landmark we would run to. Towards the end I saw all our MTD supporters and it made the last 1km so easy! I crossed the line aware that I might have made it just under 7 hours, which was unthinkable for me, and as I turned to look at my time, it was 7.01!!! Good enough for me!! Thank goodness I fixed my hair at the last toilet stop, as I made it onto the YouTube video as I crossed the line!

Great venue, and great race!! I’m glad I did it!! Thanks to all the coaches Jayne, Kent, Claire, and all the MTD’ers, I didn’t think 4 days later, I would be saying, “OK, let’s do that again!!!”

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