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Volcano stops 209 Ironman-athletes

Volcano stops 209 Ironman-athletes

Over 200 athletes unable to make Ironman South Africa next weekend

Next weekend the Spec-Savers Ironman South Africa takes place in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. About 200 athletes are affected as a result of the flight cancellations due to the volcano that erupted in Iceland a few days ago. European Ironman organizers are offering a goodwill solution to stranded athletes.

The ash cloud that has been blocking the flight routes across Europe since Thursday last week, is also now affecting Ironman. On Sunday, 25th April, the Spec-Savers Ironman South Africa will take place. A number of athletes registered for the 6th edition of the Spec-Savers Ironman South Africa have had to put their plans on hold due the cancellation of flights across Europe as a direct result of the volcano that erupted in Iceland a few days ago.

Gerrit Schellens of Belgium, a two-time Ironman SA title holder, was the first PRO to contact the organisers and withdraw. A disappointed Schellens has returned to South Africa twice since winning in 2006 and 2007 but hasn’t been able to race due to injuries. He is in fine form this year and was looking at making it a hat-trick in 2010. A lot more athletes who have been in training for many months have since had to withdraw from the race.

Therefore the European Ironman organizers agreed to a goodwill solution today. All affected athletes will be offered free entries to Ironman 70.3 races in Germany, Switzerland and Austria.

Kai Walter, CEO of IRONMAN European Headquarter, says: “All Ironman full distance races in Europe are fully booked but Wiesbaden, Rapperswil and St. Pölten make it possible for those who have been in training for many months to get a free entry in one of the races. We will handle the registrations quickly and simply to act in the interest of aggrieved athletes.”

Stefan Petschnig, communications director of the European Ironman Headquarters, continues: “The fusion of all Ironman-organizers in Europe allows it to offer all affected athletes free entries for Ironman 70.3 races in Germany, Switzerland and Austria.”

Athletes who are unable to get to South Africa for the event must contact Athlete Liaison, Sharon at sharon@triangle.cc. We regret to inform you that we will not be able to refund any athletes who are unable to take part. To register at one of the Ironman 70.3 races, athletes are asked to contact the respective race office as soon as possible.

Profile image of Matt Baird Matt Baird Editor of Cycling Plus magazine


Matt is a regular contributor to 220 Triathlon, having joined the magazine in 2008. He’s raced everything from super-sprint to Ironman, duathlons and off-road triathlons, and can regularly be seen on the roads and trails around Bristol. Matt is the author of Triathlon! from Aurum Press and is now the editor of Cycling Plus magazine.

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